Many people live their lives on social media. Everything from instant messages to life achievements occurs through applications like Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp. Tap or click here for 10 Facebook privacy and security settings you need to change right now.
So, what happens when social media sites like Facebook with billions of users have an outage? That’s what happened Monday when Facebook had its most extended outage since 2008, affecting not just Facebook but its other platforms as well. As it starts to come back online, we are all wondering what happened and why.
With an outage of just over six hours, there’s no clear answer (yet) to why these sites were down for so long. Let’s look at what was affected and what Facebook says about the massive outage.
It’s affected more than just Facebook
At 11:40 a.m. EST Monday, Facebook and its other platforms, including Instagram, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp went down simultaneously. Essentially blocking everyone from using them.
An hour later, Facebook posted on Twitter, saying it was aware of the issue and actively addressing the problems as quickly as possible. Five more hours passed before platforms started to return.
Later, Facebook posted on Twitter again to say that it was experiencing networking issues and still addressing them. This is the most significant outage since 2008 when Facebook only had 80 million users. Today, it has 2.85 billion users, all affected by the outage.
In addition to users of Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger, Facebook employees could not communicate internally. The outage went so far as to block employees from even accessing the building with ID badges.
So what happened?
Facebook has not yet confirmed the source of the outage. Several outlets are reporting a possible DNS failure, or possibly having to do with BGP, which stands for Border Gateway Protocol.
That’s a system that makes sure internet traffic gets from point A to point B on the best route available, just like following a map. If BGP was indeed the problem, it means that for a time, Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp essentially fell off the map.
Is it back?
After nearly six hours, the platforms have begun to come back online. If you’re missing your social media fix, it’s probably safe to go back into the waters. We’ll pass along any official word from Facebook as to what cause the outage when we get it.