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Facebook goes titsup in Europe

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Facebook was hit by downtime this morning that affected some of its addicts in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

The dominant social network declined to explain to The Register what had gone wrong, nor was it willing to reveal how many people were unable to access their accounts during the outage.

“Today we experienced technical difficulties causing the site to be unavailable for a number of users in Europe," the company said.

"The issue has been resolved and everyone should now have access to Facebook. We apologise for any inconvenience.”

Sporadic reports via Twitter – where people typically go to rant about online services going titsup – suggested a DNS problem was to blame for the site's little lie-down.

The outage also appeared to be more widespread than Europe, with people saying they were unable to access Facebook in parts of Africa and the Middle East, too.

The website Downrightnow.com showed that disruption for users of Facebook had been ongoing for much of the morning.

Facebook, in its initial public offering filing last month, noted the importance of keeping its site up and running at all times:

Our reputation and ability to attract, retain, and serve our users is dependent upon the reliable performance of Facebook and our underlying technical infrastructure. Our systems may not be adequately designed with the necessary reliability and redundancy to avoid performance delays or outages that could be harmful to our business.

If Facebook is unavailable when users attempt to access it, or if it does not load as quickly as they expect, users may not return to our website as often in the future, or at all.

As our user base and the amount and types of information shared on Facebook continue to grow, we will need an increasing amount of technical infrastructure, including network capacity, and computing power, to continue to satisfy the needs of our users.

It is possible that we may fail to effectively scale and grow our technical infrastructure to accommodate these increased demands. In addition, our business is subject to interruptions, delays, or failures resulting from earthquakes, other natural disasters, terrorism, or other catastrophic events.

The company added in the S-1 filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission that a large part of its network infrastructure is provided by third parties, and that if these partners were to be hit by outages, it could prove harmful to Facebook's business.

"We exercise little control over these providers, which increases our vulnerability to problems with the services they provide," Facebook said, highlighting only too well what could go wrong when you store everything in the cloud. ®

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