Facebook hit by global outage

Facebook apps return after major global outage

04 OCT 2021

UPDATED: 5 October 9AM: Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp resumed services following a major global outage on 4 October, with the company blaming an internal technical issue which caused mobile applications and desktop sites to go down for almost six hours.

In a statement, Facebook explained its engineering teams had learned that configuration changes on its backbone routers that coordinate network traffic between its data centres had caused issues, effecting the way the centres communicate and thus bringing services to a halt.

The company added it had “no evidence that user data was compromised as a result of this downtime”, while adding it was working to understand what had happened to make its infrastructure “more resilient” going forward.

As well as affecting its services, the company’s employees’ work passes and emails were also impacted, which meant the situation took longer to fix.

The outage occurred between around 4PM GMT, and lasted until 10PM, with users attempting to reach the Facebook website receiving an error message, while those trying to access mobile apps saw stale content and a message stating “Couldn’t Refresh Feed”.

Aside from potentially impacting more than 3.5 billion people that use Facebook’s services, the company’s share price also took a massive hit. According to business website Fortune, this resulted in Mark Zuckerberg’s wealth declining by $6 billion at one point.

Rival social media platforms including Twitter took to its own application to point out the fact that it was indeed functioning fine, prompting replies from numerous brands.

 

Whistleblower
The global outage came less than 24 hours after US news programme 60 Minutes revealed the identity of whistleblower Frances Haugen, who has publicised internal Facebook research related to the platform’s alleged amplification of political unrest, and the negative impacts Instagram can have on self-esteem for teens.

Facebook has experienced major outages in the past, once in 2019 and once in 2008, although not on this scale.

In addition, Facebook admitted last year its software development kit caused a number of iOS apps to malfunction.

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Kavit Majithia

Kavit joined Mobile World Live in May 2015 as Content Editor. He started his journalism career at the Press Association before joining Euromoney’s graduate scheme in April 2010. Read More >>

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