Panicked conspiracy nuts are claiming that the recent flurry of social media outages is a sign that the web is in trouble.
Facebook, Snapchat and Twitch have all suffered major crashes over the past two weeks, raising fears of an impending Internet meltdown.
However, while the string of blackouts is indeed a cause for concern, there is a more straightforward explanation for it.
Speaking to TOI, experts and analysts said that the outage is a result of tech firms relying on old and weak infrastructure.
They also deserve more attention to use than ever before because today we rely on a handful of services for a large part of our online experience.
down and out
The most recent social media shutdown began on October 4 when Facebook was hit by a major outage.
This knocked the California company’s services, including WhatsApp and Instagram, offline for several hours.
As if that wasn’t enough, Facebook’s platform suite went down again on October 8.
Technical flaws were pointed out. The company’s engineers are said to have unintentionally disconnected their data centers from the web.
Since the shutdown of Facebook, Twitch was hacked on October 6th, while Snapchat was down for several hours on Wednesday.
ITV Hub, Microsoft Teams, Reddit, and mobile and Internet service providers BT&Three have also been shut down in recent weeks.
The effect has been dramatic. Billions of people rely on services like Facebook not only for their social lives but also for their businesses.
The outage resulted in a loss of nearly $100 million in Facebook’s online ad sales.
Widespread online blackouts are on the rise, according to Luke Dericks, chief technical officer of Down Detector, a site that tracks online outages.
“One of the things we’ve seen over the past several years is an increasing reliance on a small number of networks and companies to deliver large chunks of Internet content,” he said. BBC.
Recent online outage
Here are some of the latest services that have gone down in recent weeks…
- October 4Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp are down for hours
- October 8Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp down again
- October 13:snapchat went down
- October 13:reddit goes offline for hours
- 14 OctoberMicrosoft Teams hit by outage
- 14 October:BT and EE go down
- 14 October: In the grip of three outages
“When one of them, or more than one, has a problem, it affects not only them, but hundreds of thousands of other services.”
For example, people use Facebook to sign in to many services, including apps like Tinder and devices like smart TVs.
“And so, you know, we have these kinds of internet ‘snow days’ that happen right now,” Luke said. “Something goes down [and] We all look at each other like ‘Well, what are we going to do?'”
The outage led to claims on sites such as Twitter and Reddit that the Internet is “under attack” or “eating itself”.
Others said the issues showed that the web as we know it is “on the verge of collapse”.
There were even false suggestions that Facebook may have shut down its services to remove the compromised information from its servers.
One user claimed on Reddit: “The money is refundable. But the chance to erase shoddy data or who knows what it might be worth to Zuckerberg.”
Another said: “Unfortunately it’s down so they can remove the objectionable evidence.”
Some netizens highlighted that the high volume of shutdowns is the inevitable result of a small number of companies owning several major services relying on billions.
One user tweeted: “The Internet is run by a bunch of inept monopolies, and just maybe, just maybe, this terrible idea.”
experts weigh in
Inevitably, when multiple interruptions occur at once, people worry that the problem is the result of a cyberattack or internet slowdown.
However, often this is simply human error and combined with the fact that the web runs on old and complex systems.
Speaking to tech expert and former Facebook employee Will Guyatt, there’s no reason to worry about an impending web shutdown.
He argued that systems companies like Facebook should be updated to address their vulnerability to outages that lasted for hours.
“The more paranoid among us consider these failures because the Internet is set to collapse – not because, in the case of the biggest outage in Facebook Inc.’s history – a poor engineer literally pressed the wrong button, and the whole business collapsed.” Took it down,” he said.
“However, at the same time, we need to immediately address some of the short cuts that have been taken to give us the super fast internet we know and love – we have had outages in the past year that have affected thousands of major of websites, when third party services have failed.
“We can’t make compromises like this by connecting single points of failure that leave sites, or our connections offline.”
Jake Moore, an expert analyst at cybersecurity firm ESET, said the unprecedented size of companies like Facebook and Snapchat is part of the problem.
“Large infrastructure struggles with internal changes when the scale of the network has exceeded its original projected capacity,” he said.
“As the Internet grows faster, so do the problems with it that can wipe them offline for hours, matched by an eye-watering financial impact.”
He also argued that there is a need to improve the security methods of sites to prevent the onslaught of outages.
“The problems we’ve seen recently highlight the increasing amount of users and data on a network that urgently need to be addressed with better security methods,” Jake said.
“The Internet is now a bigger part of our lives than ever before and when people use services like Facebook to sign in to other sites there are crosses between platforms.
“This dependency only highlights one of the ways in which we are losing control of remaining independent as we delegate more automation to less large companies.
“Spreading infrastructure measures across different internal and external platforms can help mitigate impact and risk and should be considered to help with the inevitable rising internet usage.”
In other news, check out our iPhone 13 review and iPhone 13 Pro review.
Take a look at the new Lamborghini Huracan Evo that can clean your house and make you dinner.
Find out about the wildly impressive Panasonic 65HZ1000 TV, which most teles find crap.
Read our complete guide to Call of Duty Vanguard.
And Dell’s Alienware R10 Ryzen Edition is a gaming PC powerhouse that crushes both new consoles.
We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for the online tech and science team? Email us at [email protected]