Facebook experienced service outages for portions of its 900 million users tonight after the social networking site was apparently targeted by hacking group Anonymous.
Taking to Twitter to express their displeasure, Facebook users from the United States to Singapore reported being unable to log onto the website for around three hours from approximately 8 p.m till about 11 p.m EST.
The mass outages for the famously reliable social networking site capped off a topsy-turvy two weeks for founder Mark Zuckerberg after Facebook’s stock closed at $29.60 per share on Thursday, down 22 percent from its offering price of $38.
Facebook admitted they experienced problems during the evening: ‘Earlier today, some users briefly experienced issues loading the site. The issues have since been resolved and everyone should now have access to Facebook. We apologise for any inconvenience.’
However, hacking group Anonymous indicated via its Twitter account that it was behind the slowdown and when asked Facebook did not deny this.
‘Looks like good old Facebook is having packet problems’ was one tweet posted by @YourAnonNews as well as ‘Oh yeah … RIP Facebook a new sound of tango down, b——.’
On Twitter at around 10 p.m EST, ‘RIP Facebook’ was among the top ten trending topics in the United States and across the world.
‘Yelling at my computer because my facebook won’t work…only to come on Twitter and see RIP Facebook trending,’ said Caitlyn Trelford on the social networking site.
Another user was even more damning as he added his voice to the RIP Facebook trend according to MSNBC
‘Twitter makes you love people you’ve never met; Facebook makes you hate people you’ve known your whole life. RIP Facebook,’ said Jamster83.
Earlier on in the day members of the Anonymous hacking collective had claimed credit for the attack on the American Nazi Party’s website and caused a denial-of-service to the right wing group’s internet presence.The site was working again by Thursday evening.
Indeed, even mobile devices were not spared as some Facebook users on iOS and Android devices reported being affected by the outage.
Facebook is famous for not suffering from extensive outages, while users of Twitter have come to expect short interruptions in service.
In fact some Twitter users were reminded of the line from the Oscar winning film, ‘The Social Network’, that chronicles the founding of the internet giant from a Harvard dorm room.
‘Let me tell you the difference between Facebook and everyone else, we don’t crash ever,’ said Jesse Eisenberg playing Mark Zuckerberg in the Aaron Sorkin penned movie.
Currently away on his honeymoon with new bride Priscilla Chan, Facebook founder and Mark Zuckerberg might be thinking what more could possibly go wrong with his company and its much vaunted floatation on the stock market.
Videoed by Italian television on the island of Capri unable to access money from an ATM, the multi-billionaire has also plunged down the list of the richest people in the world.
Since Facebook was floated on the stock market on May 18, Zuckerberg has seen $4.92 billion wiped off his personal fortune, taking it to $14.5 billion.
He is behind Colombian investor Luis Carlos Sarmiento, who is the 40th richest person in the world with $15.2 billion, according to Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
At one point during the IPO on May 18, Zuckerberg, who dropped out of Harvard to set up Facebook, was ranked the 22nd richest person, making him wealthier than investor George Soros.
Facebook is currently trading at $29.60 a share and the site became the biggest internet stock market flotation in history when it launched to huge fanfare earlier this month.
But even on the opening day underwriters Morgan Stanley had to step in to prop up the share price amid technical difficulties on the Nasdaq stock exchange.
Analysts have also warned that the shares could fall even further.