Why won't Facebook load on my computer?
January 12, 2013 11:14 AM   Subscribe

I can load any website on my MacBook except Facebook. Facebook will not load on any browser (Chrome, Safari, or Firefox) -- they all give error messages. Safari says "The server where this page is located isn't responding." Apple tech support says it's a Java problem and I just have to wait until an Apple software update allows Java again, but that seems wrong.

It seems to me that, if it were a Java problem, lots of Mac users would be in the same boat and complaining that they can no longer access Facebook, but my Google searches tell me this is an uncommon problem.

Things I've tried:

-upgrading to Snow Leopard
-Switching to public DNS servers
-Clearing cache, cookies, etc.
-Restarting router
-Repairing permissions
-Using "https" instead of "http"

This doesn't happen to me only at home -- if I take my laptop to a friend's house or coffee shop and use their wireless connection, I still can't access Facebook and get the same error messages. Nor does Facebook load when I use my Android phone as a mobile wireless hotspot or when I use my Sprint wireless card. Conversely, I can access my Facebook account just fine from my phone and from my partner's Dell laptop. Again, Facebook is the ONLY website I can't access... everything else works fine.

Has anyone ever heard of this problem or have any ideas about solutions?
posted by southern_sky to Computers & Internet (19 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I had a similar problem with Google once and my ISP fixed it my changing my IP address. I was never really clear on why that fixed anything, but if you have not gone that route it might be worth a shot.
posted by COD at 11:24 AM on January 12, 2013


Try flushing the DNS cache with the terminal command:
dscacheutil -flushcache
posted by Lanark at 11:26 AM on January 12, 2013


Have you tried disabling all extensions, add-ons and plug-ins in your browser? Try disabling add-ons first, and if you can get to Facebook then, re-enable one by one until you determine which the problematic one is.

If this isn't an issue with a browser extension, it might be a local DNS issue unrelated to your DNS server settings. Open up Applications -> Utilities -> Terminal, issue the following command at the prompt, and let us know the results. This should not reveal any private information.

more /etc/hosts && more /private/etc/hosts && dig facebook.com

It is unlikely this issue is being caused by the Java issue that Apple's support referred to. That would be unlikely to be cross-browser or prevent the whole of Facebook from loading, as Chrome isn't blocking Java yet, and Facebook doesn't require Java to work.

COD, the poster has tried their machine with multiple ISPs, so that would not be the issue.
posted by I EAT TAPAS at 11:28 AM on January 12, 2013


COD, the poster has tried their machine with multiple ISPs, so that would not be the issue.

I read the question. I really did. Sigh...
posted by COD at 11:32 AM on January 12, 2013


I EAT TAPAS, disabling add-ons didn't make a difference.

When I type the command you suggest, here's what I get:

##
# Host Database
#
# localhost is used to configure the loopback interface
# when the system is booting. Do not change this entry.
##
127.0.0.1 localhost
255.255.255.255 broadcasthost
::1 localhost
fe80::1%lo0 localhost
69.171.228.74 www.facebook.com
69.171.228.74 https://www.facebook.com
##
# Host Database
#
# localhost is used to configure the loopback interface
# when the system is booting. Do not change this entry.
##
127.0.0.1 localhost
255.255.255.255 broadcasthost
::1 localhost
fe80::1%lo0 localhost
69.171.228.74 www.facebook.com
69.171.228.74 https://www.facebook.com

; <>> DiG 9.6.0-APPLE-P2 <>> facebook.com
;; global options: +cmd
;; Got answer:
;; ->>HEADER<> ;; flags: qr rd ra; QUERY: 1, ANSWER: 1, AUTHORITY: 0, ADDITIONAL: 0

;; QUESTION SECTION:
;facebook.com. IN A

;; ANSWER SECTION:
facebook.com. 5420 IN A 173.252.100.16

;; Query time: 30 msec
;; SERVER: 8.8.8.8#53(8.8.8.8)
;; WHEN: Sat Jan 12 14:41:04 2013
;; MSG SIZE rcvd: 46
posted by southern_sky at 11:39 AM on January 12, 2013


I do not think that the entry in your hosts file is correct. There should not be an entry in the first place, since everything gets resolved by DNS. You only hard code stuff in there which does not have a DNS entry. And resolving the IP address you got there for facebook doesn't look to good either:
Address lookup failed 69.171.228.74 Could not find a domain name corresponding to this IP address.

I would comment these lines out in your hosts file (# will do this)
posted by nostrada at 12:02 PM on January 12, 2013


As a long shot, try disabling ipv6 on your computer [system preferences, network, "advanced" button, "TCP/IP" button, "Configure IPv6" -> off]. I had the exact same symptoms as you are seeing once, but with imgur, not facebook, and that was the problem.

(But I'm getting facebook with ipv6 just fine, so... that's probably not it.)
posted by ctmf at 12:03 PM on January 12, 2013


"I Eat Tapas" seems to have found the culprit.

You'll need to edit /private/etc/hosts to _remove_ the two lines mentioning "facebook", i.e.

69.171.228.74 www.facebook.com
69.171.228.74 https://www.facebook.com

There should be no line mentioning facebook in /private/etc/hosts.

This link explains how to edit the file. Don't forget running the command mentioned by Lanark above and restarting all browsers (or failing that the whole computer) as the final step.

As to how those spurious lines got into that file, most likely someone at some point added it manually, trying to be helpful. Or else some malware did it.
posted by faustdick at 12:04 PM on January 12, 2013


er, yeah. There should be no facebook entry in your hosts files, especially wrong ones. That's got to be the problem.
posted by ctmf at 12:07 PM on January 12, 2013


Or else some malware did it.

I'd definitely worry about malware after finding something like that in my hosts file, because (short of human intervention) nothing should have put that there...
posted by BungaDunga at 12:11 PM on January 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Your suggestions worked, you guys! Thank you SO MUCH. You just solved in 10 minutes what hours of Googling, weeks of stressing, and a wasted morning on the phone with Apple support didn't fix. If any of you are ever in Atlanta, let me know and I'll buy you a beer.
posted by southern_sky at 12:15 PM on January 12, 2013


Of course now you will have to spent countless hours on FB :-)
posted by nostrada at 12:20 PM on January 12, 2013


I'd definitely worry about malware after finding something like that in my hosts file, because (short of human intervention) nothing should have put that there...

If I found an entry in my Hosts file that I hadn't put there, it'd be time to nuke the site from orbit, it's the only way to be sure (clean reinstall of the entire OS).
posted by radwolf76 at 12:50 PM on January 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Googling that IP address, it does seem to belong to facebook, although not currently responding, so I'm guessing it was a misconfiguration rather than malware.
posted by Lanark at 1:17 PM on January 12, 2013


Facebook should not be able to change your Hosts file.
posted by dunkadunc at 3:49 PM on January 12, 2013


Facebook should not be able to change your Hosts file.

Is any app able to change your Hosts file on a Mac? Wouldn’t someone have had to put this in there? Don’t most people not even need a Hosts file?
posted by bongo_x at 4:44 PM on January 12, 2013


you will always have a hosts file (it's standard for unix, and required for pre-network early boot), but there shouldn't in general be anything there except the localhost entries. any program with sufficient privileges can edit that file, which includes malware that pops up a dialog asking for your admin password in order to "update software components" or whatever.
posted by russm at 6:11 PM on January 12, 2013


I say it was added by malware. It redirected your use of the URLs associated with facebook, including the secure page, to a different IP address. It could have been a fake FB page, up just long enough to snag your username and password, then deleted.

You may have some surprises when you open your Facebook page.
posted by megatherium at 4:30 AM on January 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


I did a whois on the IP and it appears as if facebook has had that range since August 2010. My guess would be malware redirected you temporarily and they hid their tracks poorly.

NetRange: 69.171.224.0 - 69.171.255.255
CIDR: 69.171.224.0/19
OriginAS: AS32934
NetName: TFBNET3
NetHandle: NET-69-171-224-0-1
Parent: NET-69-0-0-0-0
NetType: Direct Assignment
RegDate: 2010-08-05
Updated: 2012-02-24
Ref: http://whois.arin.net/rest/net/NET-69-171-224-0-1


OrgName: Facebook, Inc.
OrgId: THEFA-3
Address: 1601 Willow Rd.
City: Menlo Park
StateProv: CA
PostalCode: 94025
Country: US
RegDate: 2004-08-11
Updated: 2012-04-17
Ref: http://whois.arin.net/rest/org/THEFA-3
posted by Docteh at 9:38 AM on January 13, 2013


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