Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp Back Online After Global Outage

Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp back online post global outage

Users of Facebook Inc., Instagram and WhatsApp platforms were down globally for its users on Monday evening. 

“Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger are coming back online now,” chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said Monday. “Sorry for the disruption today — I know how much you rely on our services to stay connected with the people you care about.” 

According to Bloomberg Zuckerberg’s wealth fell by nearly $7 billion with the stock sliding down to $120.9 billion, below Bill Gates to No. 5 on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. “He’s lost about $19 billion of wealth since Sept. 13, when he was worth nearly $140 billion, according to the index,” Bloomberg wrote. 

The outage came a day after Frances Haugen, a whistleblower revealed her identity after she leaked documents alleging that Facebook fuelled hate and harming children’s mental health.

After close to ten hours, the social networking site blamed a configuration change to routers for causing its apps to crash. 

“Our engineering teams have learned that configuration changes on the backbone routers that coordinate network traffic between our data centers caused issues that interrupted this communication. This disruption to network traffic had a cascading effect on the way our data centers communicate, bringing our services to a halt,” said Santosh Janardhan, Vice President Infrastructure at Facebook, in a blog post. 

“We’ve been working as hard as we can to restore access, and our systems are now back up and running. The underlying cause of this outage also impacted many of the internal tools and systems we use in our day-to-day operations, complicating our attempts to quickly diagnose and resolve the problem,” Janardhan added. 

 ‘faulty configuration change’

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

Mwendwa Kivuva, a member and Board Trustee of The Kenya ICT Action Network (KICTANet) says Domain Name System (DNS) failure can be caused by many things. 

 A DNS helps organise the Internet with the allotment of domains. 

“Did Facebook clarify what type of DNS failure caused the downtime? It can be an expired domain, an unpublished IP address, a misconfiguration of DNS records, …” he asks.

 “The bigger question is, what is the future of centralised platforms in the almost 100% digital world we are accelerating towards? Is there a better solution out there? Will we see a future with user-led platforms? 

According to Internet World Stats, Kenya had an estimated 10.4 million Facebook users at the close of 2020.