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Photo Illustration: Mykola Tys/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The outage across Facebook's online platforms on Monday was caused by an error during routine maintenance, the company said Tuesday.

Driving the news: The six-hour outage came at a moment in which Facebook was already facing intense scrutiny by lawmakers and stockholders.

Details: Facebook vice president of engineering Santosh Janardhan explained in a blog post that the outage, which knocked Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp offline for billions of users, happened during regular maintenance operations in which parts of the servers are taken offline for repairs.

  • The error affected the "backbone" network that connects Facebook's computing facilities across the globe, Janardhan said.
  • The web monitoring firm Downdetector reported that it was the largest outage they had seen, per Reuters.

What they're saying: "From here on out, our job is to strengthen our testing, drills and overall resilience to make sure events like this happen as rarely as possible," Janardhan said, adding that a review process is underway.

The intrigue: Facebook's products went dark at a moment when the company was already facing headwinds thanks to a whistleblower scandal and changes to its privacy policy that are hurting its ad business. The company was seeing its stocks take a major hit Monday before the apps went dark, Axios' Sara Fisher reports.

Go deeper: Facebook’s very bad few days

Go deeper

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Oct 14, 2021 - Technology

Facebook's AI wants to learn the world through human eyes

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Facebook is announcing a new machine learning project that aims to teach AI how to understand and interact with the world through a first-person perspective.

Why it matters: Most computer vision is trained on images and videos taken from a third-person perspective, but to build AI assistants and robots that can work with us in the real world, researchers will need to compile data sets built on what is known as egocentric perception.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
8 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Key clean power provision likely won't survive in Dems' spending bill

A construction worker walks along a dirt road at the Avangrid Renewables La Joya wind farm in Encino, New Mexico, on Aug. 5, 2020. Photo: Cate Dingley/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A pillar of Democrats' plans to speed deployment of zero-carbon electricity is likely to be cut from major spending and tax legislation they are struggling to move on a party-line vote, per multiple reports and a Capitol Hill aide.

Driving the news: The New York Times, citing anonymous congressional aides and lobbyists, reports that West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin (D) has told the White House he "strongly opposes" the Clean Electricity Performance Program.

Updated 10 hours ago - World

Fatal stabbing of British MP David Amess declared a terrorist incident

Police outside Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, England, on Oct. 15. Photo: John Keeble/Getty Images

Authorities have declared the death of David Amess a terrorist incident, hours after the Conservative Party lawmaker in the U.K. was fatally stabbed while meeting with local constituents in a church in eastern England on Friday.

The big picture: The Metropolitan Police has found "a potential motivation linked to Islamist extremism."