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A 6-Hour Global Outage Shakes Facebook, Whatsapp, and Instagram

A 6-Hour Global Outage Shakes Facebook, Whatsapp, Instagram

The services of online messaging applications like Facebook, Whatsapp, and Instagram got disrupted for six hours on Monday. This worst outage affected billions of people socially and financially. These apps are widely used, and the halt affected many online users who are greatly dependent on these services. Along with this, the company’s stock declined by almost 5% on its opening cost after the market closed.

Facebook has not yet posted an official statement for the reasons behind the shutdown apart from a blog post that says that it occurred due to configuration changes to its routers. People have raised their eyebrows at the sudden shutdown and speculated it was an attempt to hack the users’ data online and affect their privacy. Another reason that looks suspicious is its timing. The outage occurred the day before the testimony of its whistleblower Frances Hausen on her claims about the amplification of hate content and misinformation on its platform.

The online public spotted an error while using Facebook and its related applications as Domain Name System (DNS) on which the internet works experienced a downturn. Indeed, DNS is the most prominent part of operating the internet. In layman’s language, it converts the data entered by the user into numbers that the machine could read to send the desired result. Unfortunately, with DNS error on Monday, the servers showed errors irrespective of the browsers one is using. 

The server trouble was initiated when John Graham-Cumming, CTO at networking giant Cloudflare, said that Facebook had “disappeared from the internet in a flurry of BGP updates.” BGP or Border Gateway Protocol is a system used to send data swiftly from one network to another. Because of its withdrawal from all the networks, Facebook’s network got disrupted, resulting in Whatsapp, Instagram, Messenger, and OculusVR from the digital platform.

This year hasn’t experienced such a massive outage of social media giants before. But a similar issue happened in 2019, which had been the worst and took place for more than 24 hours. While the major messaging apps got disrupted, the signups for Signal, another messenger application got increased. Also, the people ridiculed the company and its services by sharing amusing memes on Twitter. 

The CEO of the company, Mark Zuckerberg, posted an apology which says, “Sorry for the disruption today- I know how much you rely on our services to stay connected with the people you care about.” However, it was not only the users who were facing issues but also the company employees who were unable to enter the building to work and declared this Monday as a “snow day.” The staff intimated that they could not carry their work forward as the internal collaboration apps also got affected. This resulted in a delay in even resolving the issue because the company’s engineers could not access the problem online. As a matter of fact, a team was sent to the Santa Clara data center to “manually set” the company’s servers.  

And, after a six-hour-long struggle, Facebook tweeted, “To the huge community of people and businesses around the world who depend on us: we’re sorry. We’ve been working hard to restore access to our apps and services and are happy to report they are coming back online now. Thank you for bearing with us.” This tweet came as a relief for the people who rely on it where the fresh messages got delivered, and the insta-feed appeared on the screens.

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