Consumer Alert: Separating fact from fiction concerning Facebook’s massive outage

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Facebook has been in the headlines a lot lately, and none of it is good. After Monday’s five-hour outage, the internet is buzzing with conspiracy theories. Watching the rumor mill run amok was amazing Monday.

Many believed that Facebook was gone forever because allegedly its domain name system or DNS had been erased. A music studio posted a picture of a bunch of DNS addresses. And the tweet reads, "So someone deleted large sections of the routing….that doesn’t mean Facebook is just down, from the looks of it….that means Facebook is gone."

That, of course, is false because as you know, Facebook is back up now. Another rumor involved the whistleblower who testified today on Capitol Hill. She testified that Facebook’s internal research reveals that Instagram is toxic for teens, and Facebook puts profits over people. Well, the internet rumor mill speculated that yesterday’s outage was somehow tied to her new revelations. That wasn’t true either.

And unfortunately, senators on Capitol Hill were among those spreading unproven tales of calamity.

During the subcommittee hearing, Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R,TN) said that news broke Monday that the private data of more than 1.5 billion Facebook users are being sold on a hacking forum. The internet rumor mill speculated that the outage was somehow tied to that. Of course, I had to research that for you because a hack potentially affects anyone who uses Facebook.

The truth is journalists found that someone posted anonymously on a hacker forum that they were selling data from Facebook users. But unlike other hacks I’ve told you about, not a single investigative journalist has found any evidence the claim is true. In fact, Vice reports there’s credible evidence that this is a scam.

Ironic, isn’t it? It looks like scammers are trying to scam hackers on a hacker forum!

Here’s what Facebook says happened. Engineers say that a problem with a router that acts as the traffic cop between data centers is to blame. Now it’s fixed, and Facebook leaders say they’re sorry.

Without a doubt, what we know is true is that Facebook’s influence is massive, and an outage literally has the whole world talking.