Why Did WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook Down?
A Formal Apology Was Later Given by Facebook After It Had Stopped Functioning Properly for Users Throughout the World
Facebook has recently given a public apology after the application had stopped working for its billions of users across the globe for several hours on Monday. Instagram and WhatsApp, both owned by Facebook, were also down. Billions of dollar loss had been suffered after just a few hours of Facebook down by the firm.
Reason for technical fault
In a nutshell, the systems at Facebook ceased to work properly and stopped responding to the wider internet. As explained by Cloudflare, a web infrastructure company, the condition was similar if someone had pulled out of all of the cables from the data centers of Facebook at the same time and had them completely disconnected from the internet to keep Facebook down for such long hours.
The explanation provided by Facebook to clarify the situation that occurred on Monday had a technical description. They said that the changes in the configuration on the main routers that are able to keep steady coordination of the network traffic between the several data centers had caused an unforeseen problem which led to the interruption of communication, thus keeping Instagram, WhatsApp, and Facebook down throughout the world. This overall situation led towards a cascading effect that resulted in the halting of all services provided by them.
Reasoning for Facebook down
The internet is an extremely large network, due to which it is sub-divided into hundreds of thousands of small networks. Big tech firms like Facebook, due to their large network traffic, are able to own large-size networks, which are also called autonomous systems.
When a user logs in to Facebook, WhatsApp, or Instagram, the computer or mobile device is required to be connected with the network owned by Facebook, using the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP), which can also be seen as a kind of postal service for the entire internet.
In order for the user currently using the internet to be directed towards the website they would like to visit, the BGP is able to look at all the available pathways through which data can travel and picks the best one out of all.
The issue of Facebook was down on Monday when the webpage suddenly stopped working and provided the information that is required by the system to function properly. It meant that no user was able to make a connection through the internet with either Instagram, WhatsApp, or Facebook, and was observed worldwide.
Lacking by the firm
As soon as it was reported that all applications owned by Facebook, including Instagram and WhatsApp, were down, which started around 16:45 BST, a large number of reports began to receive. During the initial hour, the reaction of people was casual as they began to joke regarding how the users would cop and jibes from rival tech firms like Twitter. But after a couple of hours, when the issue had not been resolved, the seriousness of the situation began to clear, with several reports being received about the mayhem that had occurred at the California headquarter of the tech firm due to Facebook being down.
A tech reported working for the New York Times, Sheera Frenkel, said that a part of the reason that it had required several hours for Facebook to return back to normal was due to the fact that those individuals that were trying to understand the cause and resolve the issue were unable to physically enter into the building to work and find out the root of the problem.
Due to WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook being down, there had been a huge increase in the amount of traffic for other services and sites, as people around the world had discussed the issue and tried to search for other alternate platforms of social media.
It is yet to be confirmed whether the problem that had arisen was due to a bug in software at the tech firm or a simple error caused by a human. Although several conspiracy theories have already begun to circulate on the internet, one of them was foul play with deliberate means from an insider at Facebook.
To apologize, the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, had posted a tweet on its rival social media platform, Twitter, rather embarrassingly to provide information regarding Facebook down.