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Here’s what Facebook says triggered the massive outage on its apps

Downdetector says the outage was the largest it had seen, with more than 10.6m reports worldwide.
Image: Bloomberg

Facebook blamed a global service outage that kept its social media apps offline for much of Monday on a problem with its network configuration, adding that it found no evidence that user data was compromised during the downtime.

“This disruption to network traffic had a cascading effect on the way our data centers communicate, bringing our services to a halt,” the company’s engineering team wrote in a blog post Monday night.

Read:

Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp down in global outage

Zuckerberg loses $7bn in hours

The technical issue took Facebook’s core social network, its photo app Instagram and its WhatsApp and Messenger services offline for hours, marking one of the longest and broadest failures in recent memory. It had a seismic impact, immobilizing a suite of services that more than 2.75 billion people rely on daily to communicate, do business and consume news. The outage dominated news reports and sent people across the globe scrambling to other apps and services in an effort to stay connected and informed.

Chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg apologised on his Facebook page after the network had been restored. “Sorry for the disruption today — I know how much you rely on our services to stay connected with the people you care about,” he wrote.

Facebook’s internal tools and communications systems were impacted by the disruption, adding to the challenge for engineers working to identify and resolve the issue. Its internal work product, Workplace, was also affected. Fixing the underlying problem involved visiting a physical server facility and manually resetting some servers, a spokesman said.

“To every small and large business, family, and individual who depends on us, I’m sorry,” chief technology office Mike Schroepfer tweeted Monday afternoon. His apology was reiterated by Facebook’s engineering blog.

Facebook’s loss turned into a gain for other social media. Twitter’s network stayed online, with CEO Jack Dorsey tweeting his endorsement of private messenger Signal as a WhatsApp alternative. Signal signed up millions of new users on the day, while Telegram, whose functionality closely mirrors that of WhatsApp, surged 55 places to top the US iPhone download chart, according to Sensor Tower.

While it’s not uncommon for Facebook’s apps to have occasional glitches, they rarely last more than a few minutes. Downdetector, which monitors internet problems, said the Facebook outage was the largest it had seen, with more than 10.6 million reports worldwide.

Monday’s protracted outage was the latest in a cascade of difficult events for Facebook. A former employee turned whistle-blower appeared Sunday on CBS’s “60 Minutes” to accuse the company of prioritizing profits over user safety. The former employee, Frances Haugen, also handed over thousands of damning documents to US lawmakers and the Wall Street Journal, which wrote a series of articles last month on Facebook’s struggles with content moderation and Instagram’s negative psychological impact on teenagers.

The whistle-blower is set to testify before a Senate subcommittee on Tuesday and plans to tell lawmakers the “frightening truth” about Facebook.

“Facebook became a $1 trillion company by paying for its profits with our safety, including the safety of our children,” Haugen will tell the Senate Tuesday, according to a copy of her prepared testimony. “I came forward because I recognized a frightening truth: almost no one outside of Facebook knows what happens inside Facebook. The company’s leadership keeps vital information from the public, the US government, its shareholders, and governments around the world.”

Facebook shares dropped 4.9% to $326.23 at the close in New York. They had declined before the service disruption was reported, hurt by the whistle-blower’s “60 Minutes” appearance.

Facebook’s internal apps also stopped working in 2019, following a dispute with Apple Inc. that halted some of the functionality of those apps on the iPhone maker’s platform. The extent of Monday’s disruption was more severe. Some workers even struggled to use Facebook’s identity-badge system at offices during the outage.

© 2021 Bloomberg

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Support the underdog and avoid the risks of omnipotent monopolies, try Signal.

It would be patriotic for all South Africans, to use the Tencent app “WeChat” – the Chinese equivalent of Facebook, Instagram and whatsapp.

Considering what a big part, Tencent plays in our economy, through Naspers, it would be to our benefit.

…so can we accept that you are “pro-business” (irrespective of nationality) Mister EFF CommieSar? Then you deserve our support.

Remember, the founders/business OWNERS of TenCent, like any business, will naturally put profit first. Profit have to be their main focus….otherwise any company dies, and 86,000 employees globally will lose income.

Mister the Commissar, should we do an analysis what the average Chinese worker is paid by Tencent, compared to Tencent’s wealth for their owners??
Tencent is worth USD 118 Billion in equity….in Rand its R1,77 trillion.

You happy with that?

Not true. Chinese companies are currently undergoing reforms. It’s not all about profits anymore.

Tencent Holdings pledged support for President Xi’s call for “common prosperity (moderate wealth for all).

Additionally, they recently pledged, over $15 billion to aid the government’s wealth distribution efforts.

One has to wonder if this outage wasn’t controlled by the Chinese for that very reason!
Or could it be Russia trying to get Trump back on Twitter and back into power in 2024?
Anything is possible in this day and age….. LOL!

…and here I was, yesterday 5h30pm, first cursing my Google Chrome browser (and the Firefox browser) for showing a “5xx Server Error” on my linked WhatsAppWeb. Cleared cache & cookies & rebooted. Nope!

Then I cursed WhatsApp, the app itself on my phone, for not delivering any messages. Rebooting the app did not help.

My blood pressure only return to normal when I Googled the problem, and the 1st news articles began to flow in.

Facebook/WhatsApp stated “only certain numbers” of users were affected. Really?

EFF Commissar, have you been to China? If you ever do go off the beaten track into the countryside. The poverty is enormous. Chinese work like slaves, 12 hour shifts, young and old. There is also no political freedom, no freedom of speech. etc. Why dont you ask your workers how they feel about Chinese employers. While you are on fact finding mission find out about the East African slave trade run by the Somalis and Ethiopians with the Chinese as their main customers. Doubt it this will be published.

End of comments.

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