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Saturday, August 13, 2022

Going in a matter of minutes, staying out for many hours: Facebook is experiencing an outage

For many hours on Monday, Facebook and its family of apps, which includes Instagram and WhatsApp, were unavailable, disrupting a crucial communications network used by billions of people and demonstrating just how reliant the world has grown on a corporation that is under increasing scrutiny.

It was about 11:40 a.m. Eastern time when users claimed that error warnings started appearing in Facebook’s programmes – which include Facebook and Instagram as well as WhatsApp, Messenger and Oculus. Facebook had vanished off the face of the internet in a matter of minutes. The interruption lasted more than five hours until certain applications began to slowly come back to life, but the firm warned that it would take time for the services to become fully operational again.

Despite this, the consequences were far-reaching and devastating. With texting, livestreaming, virtual reality, and a slew of other digital services, Facebook has established itself as a key platform. In certain countries, such as Myanmar and India, Facebook is considered to be synonymous with the web. The social media platforms Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp are used by more than 3.5 billion people across the globe to connect with friends and family, disseminate political messages, and grow their companies via advertisements and outreach.

The fact that Facebook is used to login into many other applications and services may have unanticipated domino effects, such as users being unable to enter into shopping websites or sign into their smart TVs, thermostats, and other internet-connected devices, as well as other unexpected consequences.

Technology outages are not uncommon, but to have so many applications from the world’s biggest social media business go black at the same moment was very rare, according to experts.

The exact reason of the outage was not determined this time around. In their opinion, it was doubtful that a cyberattack was responsible since a breach does not often impact so many applications at the same time, according to two members of Facebook’s security team who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Security experts believe the issue was caused by a malfunction with Facebook’s server systems, which were preventing users from connecting to its many services, such as Instagram and WhatsApp.

According to three individuals with direct knowledge of the situation, Facebook was able to restore service when a team gained access to the server machines at a data center in Santa Clara, California, three people said. They were then able to restore them to their original state.

The business expressed regret for the outage. As soon as its applications were made available again, the company issued an apology on Twitter.

As Facebook’s problems continued to worsen, the outage added to their woes. French whistleblower Frances Haugen, a former Facebook product manager who amassed hundreds of pages of internal research, has been under fire for many weeks in connection with the investigation. In the aftermath, she released the cache to members of the news media as well as legislators and regulators, showing that Facebook was aware of many damages that its services were creating, including the fact that Instagram made young females feel less confident in their bodies.

The disclosures have sparked widespread outrage among regulators, legislators, and members of the public. Haugen, who disclosed her name on Sunday on “60 Minutes,” is set to speak before the House of Representatives on Tuesday on Facebook’s effect on children and teenagers.

Jonathan James
I serve as a Senior Executive Journalist of The National Era
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