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Facebook, Instagram and Tinder outage was a Facebook mistake, not a hack

The social network admits the hour-long problem was caused by its own engineers.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg puts the social network at the centre of the "social graph". James Martin/CNET

Facebook has admitted its own tinkering caused an hour-long outage today, breaking the social network and related services including Instagram and Tinder.

The social network, which has 1.3 billion members worldwide, was unavailable for about an hour between 6.10 a.m. and 7.10 a.m. GMT. The problem then rippled around other websites and apps that use your Facebook credentials to log you in. Mobile-focused photo-sharing site Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, was affected, as were chat app AIM and swipe-based dating app Tinder.

Facebook says the outage "occurred after we introduced a change that affected our configuration systems."

Facebook categorically states that "This was not the result of a third party attack", in response to speculation that the service had been hacked. Notorious hacker group Lizard Squad, which has claimed to be involved in the Sony Pictures hack and attacks on PlayStation and Xbox services, earlier tweeted about today's outage.

As such, Facebook reassures users no data was lost.

Today's outage appears to be one of the worst in four years, after Facebook was broken for two and a half hours back in September 2010. The fact that Facebook's internal snafu spread to other sites and apps highlights a possible danger of Zuckerberg's goal of placing the social network at the heart of the "social graph", as it means problems like these can quickly ripple outwards.