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Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp, all experienced significant outages worldwide, which prompted users to switch to Telegram, known for its encrypted messaging service.

When the outage occurred, Facebook said that it was not caused by a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack.

Such an attack causing such a widespread outage would have shown up on a number of security and networking companies' radar.

A tweet from Facebook´s Instagram account said early Thursday, "Anddddd. we´re back", without offering details. Yes, Telegram has taken the full advantage of this outage and gained more than three million users in just 24 hours.

While the outage continued, The New York Times reported that United States prosecutors have launched a criminal investigation into the social network´s practice of sharing users´ data with companies without letting them know.

The timing of a major outage is sub-optimal for Facebook, already embattled by revelations it failed to safeguard user data or stanch the spread of hate speech, fake news and other forms of disinformation. As The Verge notes, the jump in new users is significant as Telegram recorded 200 million active users as of March a year ago.

Facebook Users Report Widespread Problems On Site And Instagram
According to tracking website Down Detector , the problems hit Facebook users in Europe and the United States hardest. A slew of Facebook -owned social media sites are running again following hours-long outages worldwide on Wednesday.

"Yesterday (Wednesday), as a result of a server configuration change, many people had trouble accessing our apps and services". Facebook attempted to fix the issue, but it wasn't until around 9:30 a.m. this morning that the company finally announced that the outage was resolved. Regions affected include the NY area, parts of California and the Seattle region, according to Downdetector.

Facebook is facing a slew of lawsuits and regulatory inquiries over its privacy practices.

The Facebook, which gets a vast majority of its revenue from advertising, told Bloomberg that it was still investigating the overall impact "including the possibility of refunds for advertisers".

"It has already been reported that there are ongoing federal investigations, including by the Department of Justice", a Facebook spokesman told AFP.

While Facebook has restored majority of services, there are users around the world that are still experiencing problems.