Doug Madory is director of internet analysis at Kentik, a San Francisco-based network monitoring company. Madory said at approximately 11:39 a.m. ET today (15:39 UTC), someone at Facebook caused an update to be made to the company’s Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) records. BGP is a mechanism by which Internet service providers of the world share information about which providers are responsible for routing Internet traffic to which specific groups of Internet addresses.
Update, 4:37 p.m. ET: Sheera Frenkel with The New York Times tweeted that Facebook employees told her they were having trouble accessing Facebook buildings because their employee badges no longer worked. That could be one reason this outage has persisted so long: Facebook engineers may be having trouble physically accessing the computer servers needed to upload new BGP records to the global Internet.
Facebook on Monday disclosed that it had taken down a new foreign interference operation targeting the US 2020 presidential elections that appears to be linked to the Russian troll agency, the Internet Research Agency (IRA).
The 50 Instagram accounts and one Facebook account “had the hallmarks of a well-resourced operation”, the company said in a blog post. The accounts had about 246,000 followers, and published nearly 75,000 posts, according to Graphika, a social network analysis company that reviewed the campaign for Facebook.
The campaign included accounts that promoted both “conservative” and “progressive” content, resharing memes and tweets on potentially divisive topics in a manner similar to the IRA’s 2016 social media influence campaign.
While most of the posts were focused on polarizing political issues, some specifically addressed the 2020 election, according to Graphika. These included posts supporting Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, and attacking Joe Biden. Some also attacked Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren.
“Our democracy is broken, our laws don’t work anymore, and it’s not me saying this, it’s our parliament published a report saying this. This technology that you have invented has been amazing. But now, it’s a crime scene. And you have the evidence. And it is not enough to say that you will do better in the future. Because to have any hope of stopping this from happening again, we have to know the truth.”