Reasons behind the Facebook and its Apps Shutdown
Although technology outages are regular, having so many apps from the world’s top social media firm go black at the same time was rare. Most recent Facebook shutdown occurred in 2019, when a technical issue paralyzed its sites for 24 hours, serving as a reminder that even the most powerful internet corporations may be crippled by a mishap.
Facebook apologizes for the disruption. After its apps became available.
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.
— Meta (@Meta) October 4, 2021
How did Facebook, Instagram, and Whatsapp Shutdown?
This time reasons behind the Facebook and its apps shutdown remain unclear. According to two members of Facebook’s security team who spoke on the condition of anonymity, a cyberattack was improbable because a breach normally does not affect that many apps at once.
According to security experts, the issue was most likely caused by a malfunction with Facebook’s server computers, which were preventing individuals from connecting to its sites such as Instagram and WhatsApp.
Facebook said “configuration changes on the backbone routers that coordinate network traffic between our data centers caused issues that interrupted this communication”.
Why did it take Facebook 6 hours to recover?
Almost all of Facebook’s activities are run on its own servers. As a result, all of the company’s internal tools were also unavailable. Employees were unable to contact one another as a result, potentially slowing the resolution process.
For starters, when Facebook sent engineers to the data center to fix it, they couldn’t get in. This is because these centers have “high levels of physical protection” and “are difficult to get into,” according to the company’s blog post.
Once inside, the data centers’ devices were built to be safe as well. Even having physical access to the machine does not give an engineer authorization to modify it. The recovery process was further slowed, and the social network was taken offline as a result.
The fact that Facebook’s internal chat capabilities were unavailable due to the outage didn’t help matters. This made it much more difficult to resolve the problem because employees were unable to communicate with one another. Because all of their tools were down, several employees reported using Outlook emails to communicate.
Embarrassingly, Facebook confessed that the security barriers it put in place to keep hackers out backfired when the firm struggled to get around them. It then pledged to strengthen its training in the event that a similar problem arises in the future.
Impacts of Facebook shutdown
The outage adds to Facebook’s growing problems. Frances Haugen, a former Facebook product manager who amassed hundreds of pages of internal research, has been under fire for weeks. She has subsequently shared the cache with the mainstream media, lawmakers, and regulators, indicating that Facebook was aware of a number of negative effects its services were having, including the fact that Instagram made teenage girls feel bad about themselves.
The discoveries have sparked outrage among regulators, legislators, and the general public. Ms. Haugen is due to speak in Congress on Tuesday about Facebook’s influence on teenage users, after revealing her name online and on “60 Minutes” on Sunday.
“Today’s outage highlighted our dependency on Facebook — and its properties such as WhatsApp and Instagram,” said Brooke Erin Duffy, a communications professor at Cornell University. “The brevity of today’s outage reveals the startling level of precarity that underpins our increasingly digitally mediated employment economy.”
When the outage first occurred on Monday morning, users of Facebook and Instagram took to Twitter to mourn and mock their inability to access the applications. The hashtag #facebookdown became popular as well. The incident spawned a slew of memes.
— Yashfa (@_yashfa) October 4, 2021
“We’re missing thousands of sales because Facebook is down,” said Mark Donnelly, an Irish start-up founder who operates HUH Clothing, a mental health-focused fashion firm that uses Facebook and Instagram to connect customers. “To some, it may not seem like much, but missing out on four or five hours of sales could mean the difference between paying the energy bill or paying the rent for the month.”
Because he conducts his business through his Facebook page and receives orders via WhatsApp, Samir Munir, who owns a food-delivery service in Delhi, said he was unable to reach clients or fulfill orders.
He stated, “Everything is down, my entire business is down.”
Employees at Facebook scrambled as well as their internal systems went down. According to an internal message sent to staff and published with The New York Times, the company’s global security team “was notified of a system failure affecting all Facebook internal systems and tools.” Security systems, an internal calendar, and scheduling tools were among the items mentioned in the memo.
Employees reported having difficulty making calls on business-issued cellphones and receiving emails from people outside the company. Workplace, Facebook’s internal messaging network, was also shut down, leaving many employees unable to conduct their duties. Other sites, such as LinkedIn and Zoom, as well as Discord chat rooms, were used by some to interact.
Because their digital credentials had stopped working, some Facebook employees who had returned to work at the office were unable to enter buildings and conference rooms. Because they couldn’t get to server locations, security engineers stated they couldn’t assess the outage.
According to Facebook’s global security operations center, the outage posed “a HIGH danger to people, a MODERATE risk to assets, and a HIGH risk to Facebook’s reputation,” according to a company memo.
According to an internal document, a small team of employees was dispatched to Facebook’s Santa Clara, Calif., data center to attempt a “manual reset” of the company’s servers.
Several Facebook employees compared the outage to a “snow day,” a comment repeated publicly by Adam Mosseri, the CEO of Instagram.
For several years, the firm has been attempting to merge the underlying technical infrastructure of Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram.
The problem on Monday, according to John Graham-Cumming, the chief technical officer of Cloudflare, a web infrastructure company, was most likely caused by a misconfiguration of Facebook’s servers.
Computers use a mechanism similar to a phone’s address book to turn websites like facebook.com into numeric internet protocol addresses. According to him, Facebook’s problem was analogous to removing people’s phone numbers from under their names in their address book, making it hard to contact them. Because Cloudflare sends traffic to Facebook, it was alerted to the outage early on and was able to assess the severity of the problem.
Mr. Graham-Cumming explained, “It was as if Facebook just said, ‘Goodbye, we’re leaving now.'”