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What really happened when Facebook servers went down globally for hours?

On 4th October,2021, around 9:30 PM, Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp collectively went down for billions of users all over the world.

This caused a worldwide panic and uproar for virtually everyone who uses these applications. The servers were not just down for users but for Facebook employees as well who were unable to access the internal tools available to manage the applications.

According to Doug Madory of the analysis company Kentik, yesterday early morning, an employee at Facebook was performing a routine check and update of the software’s Border Gateway Protocol records. This helps Internet service providers of the world share information about which providers are responsible for routing Internet traffic to which specific groups of Internet addresses. When these protocols went down, Facebook lost the ability to tell servers where to navigate on its own browser which is why users were unable to reach the servers.

Facebook’s server went down

Now since Facebook’s internal tools are embedded in the same servers and most of Facebook’s employees are currently working remotely, they were just not able to access anything and were left in the dark just like the users. Those who had manual access to servers could not do much either because Facebook’s domains are scattered everywhere.

The root cause of these issues has still not been resolved or disclosed yet. But it took Facebook over 6 hours to get servers back online. They did issue an apology but the effects of such an outage were obvious. Many users use Facebook and WhatsApp to run their businesses

This however did not stop internet users from posting memes on Twitter while the rest of their accounts were down. Many made fun of Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook and others declared the supremacy of Twitter over the other three applications.

The New York Times talked to many individuals all over the world who used Facebook’s applications to conduct their businesses and everyone reported that they completely lost out on all business that they could have gotten in those 7 hours.

Mark Zuckerberg himself lost about $7 billion in the span of those 7 hours ,losing approximately $1 billion per hour.

A major problem to be noted here is that all the major products offered by Facebook all run with the same application and servers, this means that an outage such as this completely handicaps the company.

While the company is still trying to figure out what really happened and how they can fix it, it might be a good time to reflect on our dependency on one company to get our entertainment, news, conducting business and staying connected with our friends and family.