Facebook experienced a short but significant outage during the early evening, which knocked many users -- if not the entire network -- off the social network for about 20 to 25 minutes.
It is unclear at this stage what caused the outage, but Facebook's main site and mobile site failed to load. The Facebook API, which allows developers to install features such as the "Like" button on external Web sites, also failed to work, suggesting a meltdown of the entire network.
It appears that Facebook suffered DNS-related issues, resulting in the Web site not loading for many.
Some Facebook sub-domains still allowed users to access the social network, such as through beta.facebook.com.
Update at 3:45 p.m. PT: It appears that Facebook is back for many. While 20 to 25 minutes is far from a lengthy outage, for the world's largest social network it certainly left its mark.
It comes only hours after Google's Gmail service experienced an outage of about 30 to 40 minutes for both enterprise and consumer users of the cloud-based e-mail service.
It is also unclear as to how many were affected by the outage, although a scan of Twitter suggested that it affected users in North America and Europe, supporting the theory that it was near to or was a global outage. However, users on Twitter reported that the mobile device apps were still working in many cases.
This is Facebook's first major outage since October 11, when the company inadvertently caused many users across Europe to be knocked off the site. A Facebook spokesperson said that the company had run into problems with traffic optimization tests, and were not caused by a hacker who claimed at the time to have caused the outage.
At 4 p.m. PT, many found that their access to Facebook had been restored, whereas others were still waiting to reaccess the service. It does appear that, at the time of this update, most are back on the social network.
Update at 5:20 p.m. PT A Facebook representative blamed the outage on a DNS issue: "Earlier today we made a change to our DNS infrastructure and that change resulted in some people being temporarily unable to reach the site. We detected and resolved the issue quickly, and we are now back to 100 percent. We apologize for any inconvenience."