Six hours, the worst Facebook accident: why WhatsApp has fallen

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Almost 6 hours. Six. That is what the services of three of the most used networks, apps and social and online communication platforms have been down: WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook – owner in addition to the first two. Six hours of pure panic not only among the billions of users -which make up in the case of WhatsApp 1/4 of the total world population, and in the case of Facebook even more so-, but among all the employees of the Internet giant.

The most serious accident in years

The outage started right at 5:30 p.m. Spanish time, and it took almost six hours to resolve. In fact its effects still resonate. This is the worst blackout for Facebook, the worst activity outage since a 2019 incident took their site down for more than 24 hours, as downtime hit the small businesses and creators that rely on these services for revenue the most.

On Twitter, Facebook Communications Executive Andy Stone pointed out on his Twitter that “We are aware that some people are having trouble accessing our applications and products. We are working to get things back to normal as soon as possible, and we apologize for the inconvenience.“Mike Schroepfer, who will be leaving his CTO position next year, tweeted:We are experiencing network issues and teams are working as fast as possible to debug and restore as quickly as possible”.

Panic on facebook

According we read in the middle The Verge, to which several employees of the company have told the situation experienced in the last hours, within Facebook, the cut in the service “has broken almost every internal system employees use to communicate and work”. Several employees resorted to “Talk through your work-provided Outlook email accounts. Although the employees “They cannot receive emails from external addresses.”

Employees who were connected to work tools such as Google Docs and Zoom before the outage “they have been able to continue using them”, but any employee who needed to connect with their work email “Was blocked“.

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Facebook engineers even went sent to company data centers in the United States to try to fix the problem“, according to two people familiar with the situation. That means the outage, which is already Facebook’s worst in years, could “Go on even longer”as it means that the solution could not be done remotely.

To complicate things even more, the outage cut off some employees’ access to company buildings and conference rooms with their ID cards, according to The New York Times, which was the first to report that engineers were being dispatched to the data center.

A problem with DNS

a vistazo a Down Detector it revealed that the problems were widespread. While it’s unclear exactly why the platforms were unreachable for so many people, their DNS records show that, like last week’s Slack outage, “the problem is apparently DNS. “ was displaying a 5xx server error message, while the Facebook site was just saying something was wrong. The problem also affected the virtual reality division, Oculus: Users could load the games they already had installed and the browser worked, but the social functions or the installation of new games could not.

It wasn’t a hack … or was it?

Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) is the internet routing protocol, in charge of processing and choosing the most efficient routes to deliver Internet traffic. Cloudflare Senior Vice President Dane Knecht noted publicly on Twitter -the most active network during the blackout as it was not affected- that these BGP routes were suddenly “Internet withdrawals”.

Although some have speculated with the possibility that it is hackers or an internal protest per last night’s report, there is still no information to suggest that the blame for the historic ‘blackout’ has been provoked. So we will be attentive to everything that arises throughout the day in terms of information that can clarify why we have been 1/4 of a day without WhatsApp.

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