Facebook outage: why did it crash and why did it take so long to fix?

Facebook outage: why did it crash and why did it take so long to fix?

Unless you have a, shall we say, healthy relationship with technology, you may have noticed that Facebook went completely down last night, causing Instagram, WhatsApp and Facebook itself to be sucked into the murky vortex of the internet and the world forced to interact with reality.

Thousands of people reported outages shortly before 5pm on Monday and the issues were only completely fixed by 3.30am the following day. In a statement posted to Twitter at 11.31pm on Monday, Facebook apologised for the outage and thanked its millions of users around the world “for bearing with us”.

Now, Facebook has revealed just why the platforms crashed and why it left users hanging for so long.

Congress Facebook WhistleblowerCongress Facebook WhistleblowerCopyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistribu

Why did it crash?

The social media platform has said a “faulty configuration change” on its routers was believed to be at the centre of the outage.

Sign up to our free Indy100 weekly newsletter

This meant pathways to its systems broke on the internet meaning people could not connect to their services.

It said in a statement: “Our engineering teams have learned that configuration changes on the backbone routers that coordinate network traffic between our data centres caused issues that interrupted this communication.

“This disruption to network traffic had a cascading effect on the way our data centres communicate, bringing our services to a halt.

“We want to make clear at this time we believe the root cause of this outage was a faulty configuration change.”

Why did it take so long to fix?

AFP via Getty Images

Facebook’s own internal systems are run from Facebook so staff systems also came crashing down, including security card access to their own offices and their communication systems.

How was it fixed?

While the company has not gone into loads of detail, it is believed they sent a technical team out to its servers in California to manually reset the servers where the problem originated. Yes, that means they turned it off and on again.

How did it affect Facebook as a company?

Facebook’s share price fell by 4.9 per cent amid the outage and it would have also lost money in revenue. It also led people to take the mick and make some funny memes about the company.

Is your data at risk?

No. The company added: “We also have no evidence that user data was compromised as a result of this downtime.”

Will it go down again?

Events like these are pretty rate. The platform added it was working to understand more about the outage in order to “make our infrastructure more resilient”.

Let’s just hope that works - or we will be forced to turn to TikTok once more.

The Conversation (0)