We've all heard about and most of us experience the Facebook Fiasco that caused Facebook, Instagram, and Whatsapp to go completely out of service last week. But there are still many questions unanswered, about what caused the outage, what effects the service disruption had for the at least 3.5 billion people who use Facebook’s apps around the world, and what the consequences of the outage will be as Facebook faces increasing public pressure over its impact on everything from US teens’ body image to the survival of democracies around the world! So what the heck happened? There has been a great deal of commentary about it. Here's as summarized as we could get it.
The outage also hit small businesses around the world that rely on WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook, meaning that stores, restaurants and delivery services lost money on Monday, the New York Times reported. The disruption of WhatsApp was particularly challenging for millions of people around the world who rely on the platform as their primary communication method with friends and family. “It’s like the equivalent of your phone and the phones of all of your loved ones being turned off without warning. The app essentially functions as an unregulated utility,” the journalist Aura Bogado wrote.
Mark Zuckerberg apologized for the outage on Facebook once the website was back online, but did not provide an explanation. “I know how much you rely on our services to stay connected with the people you care about,” the CEO said.
Experts initially said the problem appeared to have been related to the company’s internal infrastructure. Facebook engineers responded to a company data center in California to fix the outage, which also disrupted internal systems employees use for work, the Verge reported. There was no evidence that the issue was caused by malicious activity, the Associated Press reported, and experts have said the outage, which saw Facebook and its services essentially “disconnected from the internet”, could have only originated from within the company.
According to reports, part of the problem was with the DNS, or domain name system, which turns website names such as approachnetworksolutions.com into numeric addresses that can be understood by machines. These allow the users’ computer to connect to the destination web server and the website users are looking for.
“It is rumored to be a border gateway protocol problem. This is something worth noting. It might be really hard to get into a router and change the route tables from outside the organization, but inside, it’s a piece of cake,” Renee Murphy, a principal analyst at Forrester, said in an email. “If it really is a BGP problem, that is a big problem. This is not something that should ever happen at a company this sophisticated with this much data.”
Is your head spinning yet? Before you step off that ledge, we'll wrap this issue up. Here’s some of the remaining questions:
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