What the heck went on with the Facebook & Instagram shutdown on Monday, October 4, 2021?
While we are used to cloud services going down from time to time, it’s usually for short periods of time. One thing that was surprising with this outage is that it lasted for about 6 hours – which is eons in the internet world
And the outage didn’t only take out Facebook, it also took out another major social media site that Facebook owns, Instagram.
The fact that it took a major company like Facebook so long to get its systems back up and running caused a serious stir across the online world, with millions unable to get to their favorite social media sites. There were probably a good deal of people initially wondering if it was a Wi-Fi problem on their end, only to find out that it was Facebook itself.
Facebook is the largest social media platform in the world, with approximately 2.89 billion monthly active users.
So, was this a major hack or ransomware attack?
While Facebook is no stranger to data breaches, having several over the years (the latest was earlier this year and exposed 533 million users’ personal data), this time a hack was not the culprit.
What Caused the Facebook Shutdown?
It turns out that a major network failure was the cause of the Facebook and Instagram outage in early October. In a nutshell, Facebook’s systems stopped talking to the internet.
As Facebook explained in an outage update, “…configuration changes on the backbone routers that coordinate network traffic between our data centers caused issues that interrupted this communication. This disruption to network traffic had a cascading effect on the way our data centers communicate, bringing our services to a halt.”
It’s speculated that this outage happened due to a problem with the “postal service” of the internet, or the Border Gateway Protocol.
This protocol helps to route data on the internet between users and the data center servers that hold that data (data being websites, online files, social media sites, etc.).
So, if a network issue causes a data center to be “lost” in that internet postal service – in essence, having its address temporarily erased – it loses communication with the internet and all the users on the other side trying to get to the websites or cloud apps that it is hosting.
When Facebook’s update mentions a “cascading” effect, you can think of this really like one thing impacting another and just making it worse.
For example, as Facebook’s technical teams were working to identify the problem and get it resolved, millions of users around the world were continually pinging to try to reach its servers, which just gummed up the works and made things move even slower.
The Whistleblower Controversy
The timing of the outage couldn’t have been any better timed for conspiracy theories to multiply. This came less than 24-hours after a scathing 60 Minutes interview with a former Facebook employee.
The whistleblower had released thousands of internal Facebook documents that put the company’s priorities into question when choosing between profits and the wellbeing of its users.
The fact that a major outage came right on the heels of that interview airing on network television certainly had people wondering what was up.
Some Businesses Lost Nearly a Full Day of Work
Social media users that enjoy posting for personal entertainment on Facebook and Instagram weren’t the only ones inconvenienced. Facebook also runs business solutions and a large Marketplace service that companies rely on. These were also impacted by the outage.
Other apps that were down included WhatsApp (the world’s largest messaging app that allows international calls for free), Messenger, and Oculus (virtual reality solution).
Many companies rely on Facebook Messenger customer service and marketing. Small businesses also often use Instagram and Facebook as a way to get in front of targeted audiences to sell their products and services.
One thing that the Facebook outage did was serve as a wake-up call to companies about just how important network support is. Your connection to the internet and connection to other devices in your network can take your entire company down if something goes wrong.
Keeping those network connections optimized and maintained is vital to business continuity, continued growth, and ensuring your business stays in touch with the outside world.
Get a Network Optimization Assessment
When did you last have your network and routers checked? Two River Computer can visit your Fair Haven business and give you a full assessment of your current network setup and offer expert guidance on any issues that need to be addressed.
Contact us today for a free consultation. Call 732-747-0020 or reach us online.