Around six hours after Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram went offline, service began to return, however coverage for some of the Internet’s most popular sites and applications remained limited.

The massive outage and unrelated negative news now afflicting Facebook caused the Silicon Valley giant’s shares to fall 4.8 percent in a trade Wednesday, wiping billions from creator Mark Zuckerberg’s fortune.

Mr. Zuckerberg’s holdings fell by $7 Billion in a couple of hours today, putting his net worth slightly above $160 Billion.

Mr. Zuckerberg said the internet giant’s trio of platforms were back up around 9.30 a.m. (AEDT) with an apology post for the “disruption.”

Later, at 1 pm (AEDT), Facebook revealed in a blog post that the underlying cause of the outage was an incorrect configuration change made to the company’s servers.

The three applications, all of which are owned by Facebook and run on common infrastructure, went offline soon before 5 p.m. Other connected programs, such as Messenger and Workplace, have also been rendered inoperable.

The social media giant’s platforms fell suddenly in June and April of this year owing to a “network configuration issue.”

It was unclear why this occurred. Because Facebook is so large that it maintains its DNS, unlike smaller firms, only someone at Facebook would have the authority to shut it down.

Twitter is ecstatic as people migrate from Facebook and Instagram. The hashtag #facebookdown also soon became popular.

We are aware that some users are experiencing difficulties accessing our applications and products We’re working hard to restore normalcy as soon as possible, and we regret any inconvenience. Facebook stated on Twitter.”         

Down Detector, an outage tracking website recorded tens of thousands of reports for each of the services.

It is the company’s biggest outage since 2008, when a glitch knocked Facebook offline for almost a day, affecting around 80 Million users.

A similar outage occurred in 2019 and lasted roughly an hour. Facebook blamed the outage on a server configuration change.

The outage comes only one day after the whistleblower who released secret internal information to The Wall Street Journal and the United States Congress identified herself ahead of an appearance with “60 Minutes.” The papers, which were initially disclosed in a series of Journal pieces, indicated that the company’s leaders were aware of Instagram’s detrimental effects on younger users and that Facebook’s algorithm facilitated the spread of disinformation, among other things.

Frances Haugen, a 37-year-old data scientist from Iowa, has worked for businesses like Google and Pinterest, but she told CBS television show “60 Minutes” that Facebook was “significantly worse” than anything she had ever seen. The world’s largest social media network has been caught in a firestorm sparked by Haugen, with US legislators and The Wall Street Journal revealing how Facebook was aware that its products, notably Instagram, were hurting young girls, particularly in terms of body image.

However, the outage was a setback for small businesses and others that rely on the platform for outreach and advertising, as well as millions of people who use Facebook and its apps to communicate with friends and family all over the world. Gamers that broadcast their gameplay on Facebook Gaming and are compensated by spectators and subscribers were looking for alternatives.

Employees at Facebook scrambled as its internal systems also failed to operate. According to an internal memo sent to employees, the company’s global security team “was notified of a system outage affecting all Facebook internal systems and tools.” According to the document, these technologies included security systems, an internal calendar, and scheduling tools.

Employees reported having trouble making calls from work-issued smartphones and receiving emails from people outside the company. Workplace, Facebook’s internal communications service, was also decommissioned, leaving many workers unable to carry out their responsibilities. Some individuals interacted using other platforms, such as LinkedIn, Zoom, and Discord chat rooms. An outside hack was deemed less likely.

According to security experts, a massive denial-of-service attack that could overwhelm one of the world’s most popular sites would necessitate either coordination among powerful criminal groups or a highly innovative technique.

Major websites can also fall when content delivery networks, or CDNs, go down. That happened in June, when one of these CDNs, Fastly, went down owing to technical difficulties. This resulted in the downtime of major websites such as Amazon, Reddit, and The New York Times.

Technical issues can occur, but users do not expect such issues from the world’s largest social media platforms, on which the majority of global communication and business relies.

By Sawera Amjad

Author is a Lahore College for Women University graduate. She writes with zeal and believes that there is nothing greater than words to express herself.


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