On Monday, the social media giant Facebook suffered a massive outage that, as of this writing, is still in effect.
The company's flagship services, including Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp are all currently inaccessible. But one unexpected development is that this outage is also hurting Facebook's "metaverse" products, including Oculus Quest users and Ray-Ban Stories smartglasses users.
Currently, if you turn on your Oculus Quest 2 headset, after the device powers on, users are just presented with an endless cycling screen indicating that the Oculus apps are loading, but they never load.
Similarly, when you attempt to use the Ray-Ban Stories app called Facebook View, the app allows you to see your current photos and videos, some users are getting a message stating, "Something Went Wrong: There was a network error. Please try again later."
According to security expert Brian Krebs, the issue may be related to an internal operation gone wrong. "At approximately 11:39 a.m. ET today, someone at Facebook caused an update to be made to the company's Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) records," reads the ongoing security update from Krebs' site.
"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. In simpler terms, sometime this morning Facebook took away the map telling the world's computers how to find its various online properties."
Hours later, as the outage continued, the company's chief technology Mike Schroepfer took to Twitter to offer some further explanation. "Sincere apologies to everyone impacted by outages of Facebook powered services right now," said Schroepfer. "We are experiencing networking issues and teams are working as fast as possible to debug and restore as fast as possible."
The historic outage underscores the fragility of building a metaverse on a centralized network that, in a blink of an eye, has prevented all of Facebook's VR and smartglasses users from being able to fully using their devices.