On Monday, October 4th, 2021, something very unexpected happened. After a hectic day, it was finally time to relax. I took my phone to check my social media, and one by one checked Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. But they did not load and showed an error. “The internet must be slow”, I thought to myself and tried restarting my router. Surprisingly enough, Google and Snapchat functioned pretty well. Well, after about an hour of trying to figure out what was wrong with my internet connection, I opened the least used social media app on my phone, Twitter. Facebook was hit with a massive outage.
It functioned well too! I quickly looked at the trends to confirm my suspicion if some of the apps were down (Twitter often comes in handy in such situations). And funnily, Twitter had gone berserk with thousands of memes related to the hashtag “social media platform down”. It’s not just my story. It is the story of thousands of people who lost access to social media for 6 hours straight!
The Massive Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp Outage
Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp were hit with a massive outage worldwide on Monday, October 4, 2021, affecting millions of people worldwide. Many of them turned to Twitter to express their “disappointment”, where it trended worldwide! The aftermath can still be seen on Twitter even today (October 6, 2021), with a lot of memes and jokes still circulating on the social media platform. On a serious note, the Facebook outage affected billions of people and many businesses worldwide by remaining off for such a long time.
The massive Facebook outage also extended to the other Facebook-related apps, Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger, and Oculus. Although this outage gave way to plenty of memes online, it had a way deeper impact on the everyday lives of many people. About 3.5 billion people use these apps for keeping connected with their friends and families, distribute political messaging, and advertise their business. Besides, many small businesses run and generate revenue via these apps. Furthermore, many people use Facebook to sign in to other apps and services such as shopping websites, smart TVs, and other devices. Also, many Facebook employees were locked out of their offices.
What resulted in the Facebook outage?
Technical outages are not a rare thing, and websites and apps sometimes go down for regular maintenance. But a shutdown of a tech giant and related apps to such an extent is quite appalling, with everyone wondering what might have gone wrong. Interestingly, this massive Facebook outage happened when the company was dealing with the accusations of a whistle-blower. Frances Haugens, who was a former product manager at Facebook. According to her, the company is well aware of the harm it is causing and that Instagram has also harmed the mental health of teenage girls. Facebook shutting down amid this chaos left many people speculating about the reason behind its massive outage.
The last time Facebook suffered a major outage was in 2019, when its sites remained down due a technical error for 24 hours. This time, the Facebook authorities confirmed that the Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp were down due to a faulty configuration change. The CEO of the tech giant, Mark Zuckerberg, apologized to the users for the inconvenience they have caused with Mark. According to Facebook’s Vice President of engineering and infrastructure, Santosh Janardhan.
“The configuration changes on the backbone routers that coordinate network traffic between our data centers caused issues that interrupted this communication. This disruption to network traffic had a cascading effect on the way our data centers communicate, bringing our services to a halt.”
Facebook finally restored service after a team got access to its server computers at a data center in Santa Clara, California, and reset them. Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp also posted apologies on Twitter for the inconvenience they caused to their users. This massive Facebook outage resulted in a loss of about $65 Million to the company.
Facebook down? Instagram down? WhatsApp Down? All at once? It seemed like everyone was cut off from the world for 6 hours straight! Although Twitter came to the rescue and people enjoyed making jokes about it, it was way more serious than that. With many businesses dependent on these apps nowadays. It is hard to imagine how much they might have suffered during these long hours.
This massive Facebook outage showed how much we have become dependent on these sites. Furthermore, it highlighted that even tech giants can face heavy consequences in case of such outages.
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Last Modified: August 2, 2023 at 7:09 am