Yesterday, For several hours on Monday, October 4, millions of users of Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, WhatsApp, and OculusVR were cut out from these platforms for unknown reasons. It was suspected that Facebook could have been the subject of a hack. However, the company has now made a statement that the incidence was the result of a configuration change in its routers. It is still not very clear what happened, but the outage brings to the fore the vulnerability of the platforms and how connected they have become.
The configuration issue led to a disruption in network traffic, which subsequently affected the way Facebook’s network centers communicate. These issues all contributed to bringing Facebook’s services to a halt. Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg has issued an apology for the service blackout, stressing that the platforms were coming back online.
In what is seen as Facebook’s worst outage since 2019 when it went off for more than 24 hours, Monday’s incident is believed to have begun with a routine BGP update that was wrongly executed, and this led to the wiping out of the DNS routing information that is used to make Facebook accessible to other networks.
The outage also coincides with the scheduled testimony of whistleblower, Frances Haugen to the United States Congress about her experience in the company. Haugen has released a trove of documents to support her claims that Facebook pays for its profit with user safety.
Even with the apology by CEO Zuckerberg, the six-hour outage will continue to be interpreted differently. It is hoped that Facebook will provide greater clarity and better disclosure of the details of what led to Monday’s blackout.