Facebook and ALL of its messaging and social media platforms went down for about six hours, including Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram!
Find out why they all went down at the same time, and for so long!
Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram + More DOWN!
The entire slew of messaging and social media platforms owned by Facebook was inaccessible for about six hours, including :
- Facebook Messenger
The failure also extended to Facebook authentication, which you may be using to log into third-party apps and games, with Pokemon Go and Match Master gamers have reported problems logging in.
This left Twitter as the only major social media network still up and running, which is ironic since it became the only way for Facebook to reach out to the world…
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.
— Facebook (@Facebook) October 4, 2021
This massive outage couldn’t come at a worse time for Facebook, whose stock slumped about 5.5% after former employee and whistleblower, Frances Haugen, leaked internal documents to the Wall Street Journal.
She also accused her former firm of repeatedly and knowingly allowing the proliferation of hate speech and misinformation for profit. Really tough times for Team Zuckerberg indeed…
Even Edward Snowden chimed in, saying that the world has become a healthier place for one shining day…
Facebook and Instagram go mysteriously offline and, for one shining day, the world becomes a healthier place. #facebookdown
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) October 4, 2021
Why Did Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram, etc. Go DOWN?
This massive, unprecedented GLOBAL outage appears to be caused by a DNS (Domain Name Server) failure.
The DNS service “translates” the plaintext link we use (www.facebook.com for example) into its actual numerical IP address (126.96.36.199 for example), allowing your app or browser to connect to the right server.
Without a working DNS service, no one is able to connect to any Facebook-owned service because the Internet no longer knows how to locate the right server.
CloudFlare senior vice-president Dane Knecht shared that the Facebook BGP (Border Gateway Protocol) routes have been “withdrawn from the Internet”, causing failure to connect through CloudFlare’s DNS service.
— Dane Knecht (@dok2001) October 4, 2021
This was likely due to a configuration error on Facebook’s side, but coming one day after the story broke on Frances Haugen? It would be folly to rule out internal sabotage or a rush to remove some controversial features before she testified to the US Congress.
The conspiracy theory that it was a DDOS (Distributed Denial-of-Service) attack by Anonymous or some vigilante group is really farfetched. It would require an incredible amount of resources and coordination to not only bring down Facebook, but all the other services as well… at the same time!
Facebook’s Vice-President of Infrastructure, Santosh Janardhan, later confirmed that “configuration changes” on their “backbone routers” caused the 6-hour long failure.
Our engineering teams have learned that 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.
He also asserted that it was a faulty configuration change, and no user data was compromised.
Our services are now back online and we’re actively working to fully return them to regular operations. We want to make clear at this time we believe the root cause of this outage was a faulty configuration change. We also have no evidence that user data was compromised as a result of this downtime.
While he blamed “the underlying cause” for impacting their ability. to “quickly diagnose and resolve the problem”, it is notable that it took Facebook engineering teams more than 6 hours to resolve a DNS failure.
It is now believed that the changes were made to Facebook’s Border Gateway Protocol, a mechanism that exchanges routing information to help figure out the fastest route for any request.
Apparently, the changes “withdrew” Facebook services from the DNS system, making it impossible for anyone to connect to them.
Even worse, Facebook ran their own systems through the same servers, so everything from engineering tool, messaging services and even security systems that controlled the key fob locks were no longer accessible.
So their engineering team had to rush to their data centres to manually reset the servers there.
Needless to say, this will be a big wake-up call for their engineering teams, and in the words of Russell Peters – “Somebody’s gonna get a hurt real bad!”
It is also a big wake-up call for everyone using Facebook services. This massive outage is a reminder that we should NOT put all our eggs in one basket.
I believe it will at least temporarily spur the adoption of alternative messaging services like Telegram and Signal. Even Twitter should see a nice boost in Tweets and maybe new users.
Now, I’m not into conspiracy theories… but what are the odds of this failure happening just one day after Frances Haugen came out publicly against Facebook, and a day before she was set to testify before the US Congress?
Could these “configuration changes” be designed to remove some controversial features before Haugen’s testimony to the US Congress?
Could Facebook’s own engineering team have accidentally triggered the failure in their rush to remove those controversial features before she testified?
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