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Conspiracy theories explode online after massive Facebook outage

Don't trust random tweets.

 

Mikael Thalen

Tech

Posted on Oct 4, 2021   Updated on Oct 13, 2021, 1:21 pm CDT

Conspiracy theories exploded online after Facebook and several of the company’s apps became inaccessible on Monday.

The unprecedented outage saw not only Facebook go down but Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger as well.

While details are scarce, the evidence thus far suggests that an update made to Facebook’s Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) records, which relates to how traffic is routed across the internet, may have caused the issue. It remains unclear if the incident was merely an accident or malicious in nature. As of publication, some services have begun to return online.

With so many unanswered questions, users on Twitter began spreading conspiracy theories blaming the outages on a host of issues.

A satire account on Twitter seemingly convinced thousands that the problem at Facebook had been caused by a Chinese hacker.

Despite the account later reiterating that it posted satire, countless users continued spreading the false claim.

Others suggested that an employee may have sabotaged the company after watching the 60 Minutes interview on Sunday with a Facebook whistleblower.

Screenshots of what appeared to be DNS addresses were also cited by prominent accounts as proof that Facebook had been deleted entirely from the internet, despite such claims being false.

A story regarding hacked Facebook data circulating on a hacking forum was also used as evidence that the company had been compromised. Researcher Aric Toler, however, noted that the alleged files had first appeared online two weeks ago. Not only that, an alleged customer claimed on the forum that the sale was actually a scam and that he never received the purported data.

Unsurprisingly, some followers of the QAnon conspiracy theory believed that the outage was part of the “10 Days of Darkness,” a mythical event that is supposed to coincide with the return of former President Donald Trump.

The term “Anonymous” began trending on Twitter as well after users suggested that the hacktivist group was responsible for Facebook’s woes.

Facebook’s Chief Technology Officer Mike Schroepfer apologized for the outage in a tweet on Monday in which he blamed the problem on “networking issues.”


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*First Published: Oct 4, 2021, 5:02 pm CDT