Minutes Gone, Hours Gone: Facebook is Jolted by an Outage

Life was interrupted, businesses were cut off from consumers, and some Facebook employees were locked out of their jobs when programs used by billions of people around the world went off the grid.

Facebook and its family of apps, which include Instagram and WhatsApp, were down for several hours on Monday, disrupting a crucial communications platform used by billions, and underscoring how reliant the world has become on a company under assault.

Around 11:40am EST on the 4th, users reported receiving error warnings on Facebook’s apps, such as Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger, and Oculus. Facebook was basically gone from the internet in a matter of minutes. The outage lasted more than six hours before a number of apps began to work again, albeit the business warned that the services might take some time to recover.

According to Facebook, it wasn’t a hack, but rather a self-inflicted issue. Their traffic routers received an incorrect upgrade, causing a slew of problems across their infrastructure. As a result, Facebook effectively shut down worldwide. Nonetheless, the consequences were far-reaching. Facebook has established itself as a crucial platform with messaging, live-streaming, virtual reality, and a plethora of other digital services.

“Today’s outage highlighted our dependency on Facebook — and its properties like WhatsApp and Instagram,” said Brooke Erin Duffy, a communications professor at Cornell University. “The brevity of today’s outage reveals the startling level of precocity that underpins our increasingly digitally mediated employment economy.”

When the outage began on Monday morning, users of Facebook and Instagram took to Twitter to express their frustration and make light of their inability to access the applications. The hashtag #facebookdown became popular as well. A cascade of memes sprouted up as a result of the occurrence.

Cloudflare’s chief technical officer, John Graham-Cumming, said in an interview that his business was aware of the outage early on and was aware of the scope of the problem. He deemed it a “misconfiguration” and since then, the platforms have been up and running.