Breaking: Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp Restored Back After Nearly Six-Hour Global Outage

Newsie Events Media:

After a total global outage on Monday, (Oct.4) for nearly six-hours, which paralysed the social media platforms, Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp apps, has finally been reconnected back to the global internet.

According to the website monitoring group, Downdetector, the apps went dark
at around noon eastern tine which it described as the largest of failure it had ever seen with 10.6 problem reports globally.

However, around 5.45pm ET, some Facebook users began to regain partial access to the social media app. WhatsApp continued to have connection problems for at least some people.

The outage was the second blow to the social media giant in as many days after a whistleblower on Sunday accused the company of repeatedly prioritising profit over clamping down on hate speech and misinformation.
Shares of Facebook, which has nearly 2 billion daily active users, opened lower after the whistleblower report and slipped further to trade down 5.3 per cent in afternoon trading on Monday. They were on track for their worst day in nearly a year, amid a broader sell-off in technology stocks.
Security experts said the disruption could be the result of an internal mistake, though sabotage by an insider would be theoretically possible.

“Facebook basically locked its keys in its car,” tweeted Jonathan Zittrain, director of Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society.

Protocol failure

The outages on Monday at Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram occurred because of a problem in the company’s domain name system, a relatively unknown – at least to the masses – but crucial component of the Internet.
Commonly known as DNS, it’s like a phone book for the Internet. It is the tool that converts a web domain, like, into the actual Internet protocol, or IP, address where the site resides. Think of as the person one might look up in the white pages, and the IP address as the physical address they’ll find.

On Monday, a technical problem related to Facebook’s DNS records caused outages. When a DNS error occurs, that makes turning into a user’s profile page impossible. That is apparently what happened inside Facebook – but at a scale that has temporarily crippled the entire Facebook ecosystem. Not only are Facebook’s primary platforms down, but so too are some of their internal applications, including the company’s own email system.

Users on Twitter and Reddit also indicate that employees at the company’s Menlo Park, California, campus were unable to access offices and conference rooms that required a security badge. That could happen if the system that grants access is also connected to the same domain –
The problem at Facebook Inc. appears to have its origins in the Border Gateway Protocol, or BGP. If DNS is the Internet’s phone book, BGP is its postal service. When a user enters data in the Internet, BGP determines the best available paths that data could travel.
Minutes before Facebook’s platforms stopped loading, public records show that a large number of changes were made to Facebook’s BGP routes, according to Cloudflare Inc.’s chief technology officer, John Graham-Cumming, in a tweet.

While the BGP snafu may explain why Facebook’s DNS has failed, the company has not yet commented on why the BGP routes were withdrawn early on Oct 4.

(Partly Culled From The StraitsTimes)

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