The company blamed a change it had made to its system for the outage, saying that the issue had been resolved and that its systems were recovering. "We are 100 percent back up and running and apologise for any inconvenience", a Facebook spokesperson said. Users in Asia were having problems on Thursday morning.
Pointing out that the Facebook outage also extended to its other properties, including Instagram and WhatsApp, Sarah Miller, the deputy director at the Open Markets Institute, which is for the break-up of Facebook and other Silicon Valley companies, said, "The more integrated a platform becomes, the greater the risk and reach of epic failures like this one".
In 2008, Facebook was knocked offline by a bug that affected many of its 80 million users. In November, Facebook had a brief 40-minute outage.
"As a result, many people had difficulty accessing our apps and services", Facebook said.
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The outage came the same day that The New York Times reported that federal prosecutors are conducting a criminal investigation into Facebook's data deals with 150 companies, including Sony, Netflix, Spotify and Amazon.
The news comes with regulators, investigators and elected officials in the United States and elsewhere in the world digging into the data sharing practices of Facebook.
Millions of users were affected, and thousands took to Twitter on Wednesday and Thursday to complain under the hashtag #facebookdown.
No cause has been given but Facebook said it wasn't a distributed denial of service or cyberattack.