The digital world came to a standstill for more than six hours as the world’s biggest social media platforms went down. It was a global failure as users across the world couldn’t access Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram for hours starting at around 9.30 pm IST.
They blamed an internal technical issue, which not only affected Facebook’s services, but reportedly also employees’ work passes and email. But the company said there was “no evidence that user data was compromised.”
In an official blog post, Facebook said that “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.”
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a Facebook post said that the platforms are slowly coming back. And Zuckerberg threw in an apology as well. “Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger are coming back online now. Sorry for the disruption today — I know how much you rely on our services to stay connected with the people you care about,” he said.
Downdetector, which tracks outages, said some 10.6 million problem reports around the world. However, the real number of people affected is much higher: more than 3.5 billion people use Facebook, Messenger, Instagram and Whatsapp. According to the business website Fortune, it also cost Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg an estimated $6 billion at one point as shares plummeted.
“To every small and large business, family, and individual who depends on us, I’m sorry,” Facebook chief technology officer Mike Schroepfer tweeted, adding that it “may take some time to get to 100%.” Shares of Facebook, which has nearly two billion daily active users, fell 4.9 per cent on Monday, their biggest daily drop since last November, amid a broader sell-off in technology stocks.
Facebook, which is the second largest digital advertising platform in the world, was losing about $545,000 in U.S. ad revenue per hour during the outage, according to estimates from ad measurement firm Standard Media Index.
WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook reconnected to the global internet early on 5 October (Tuesday morning) after being down for nearly six hours.