Facebook flounders over security

14:18 | 15/03/2019

Facebook, the world's largest social network, has been partially interrupted by what is believed to be a DDOS attack, adding to his troubles from a criminal investigation into its data deals with 150 companies.

facebook flounders over security
Some users cannot access Facebook for undisclosed reasons

The partial Facebook outage affecting users around the world has stretched beyond 14 hours, and was showing signs of ending early yesterday (March 14). It is believed to be the biggest interruption ever suffered by the social network.

Some Facebook users and other platforms owned by the tech giant, including Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp, reported intermittent problems accessing the services and posting content.

When trying to post selfies and updating status, many Facebook users received an error message during the outage that said: "Sorry, Something went wrong. We are working on getting this fixed as fast as we can."

The lengthy disruption is likely to upset advertisers that spend large amounts of money to reach potential customers on Facebook platforms. The company's flagship social network has more than 2.3 billion users, and Instagram has more than 1 billion.

Facebook had to turn to its rival Twitter explaining that its group of hugely popular apps were having difficulties.

Despite some early online rumours that the outages were the result of a distributed denial-of-service (DDos) attack – a type of hack in which attackers flood a company's network – Facebook said in another tweet that "the issue is not related to a DDoS attack." However, Facebook has provided no further updates in the hours since then.

Also at this time, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is conducting a criminal investigation into data deals Facebook struck with some of the world’s largest technology companies, intensifying scrutiny of this social media platform’s practices.

The companies numbered more than 150, including Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, and Sony, that had cut sharing deals with the world’s dominant social media platform. The agreements let the companies see users’ friends, contact information, and other data, sometimes without consent. Facebook has phased out most of the partnerships over the past two years.

A Facebook spokesman said in a statement that, “We are co-operating with investigators and take those probes seriously, we have provided public testimony, answered questions, and pledged that we will continue to do so.”

It is not clear when the grand jury inquiry, overseen by prosecutors with the United States attorney’s office for the Eastern District of New York, began or exactly what it is focusing on. Facebook was already facing scrutiny by the FTC and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Generally, Facebook’s data security crisis came in two phases. First was the scandal around selling the data of 50 million users involving Cambridge Analytica in March 2018, which was then followed by Facebook deliberately hiding co-operation with technology brands to allow them access to the personal data of users.

Nguyen Huong

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