What we know about why Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp broke – and what we don’t

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Facebook has finally explained how its main app, Instagram, WhatsApp, and many others were able to go offline in one of their biggest shutdowns in history.

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The company says it was an internal problem and not a cyber attack from outside. And it says there is no indication that any data was compromised.

But some things are still unclear, including how it happened and what Facebook did to fix it.


Facebook’s explanation was secret, as is usually the case after its failures. Its blog post was only four paragraphs long, of which only two were devoted to explaining what happened and how.

“Our engineering teams have learned that configuration changes on the backbone routers that coordinate network traffic between our data centers cause issues that disrupt this communication. This disruption in network traffic can be attributed to the communication of our data centers. This has had a massive impact on the way our services came to a halt,” wrote Santosh Janardhan, Facebook’s vice president for engineering and infrastructure.

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“Our services are now back online and we are actively working to fully return them to regular operation. We would like to clarify at this time that we believe this outage may be responsible for The root cause was a faulty configuration change. We have no evidence that user data was compromised as a result of this downtime.”

Other paragraphs apologized to “the people and businesses that depend on us around the world”, and that Facebook understands “the impact such impacts have on people’s lives, and needs to keep people informed of disruptions to our services.” We have a responsibility”. Commit to learning more about what happened and how it can be avoided in the future – but not necessarily sharing more.

Facebook also confirmed a rumor that was spreading, saying that the failure itself had affected “the internal tools and systems that we use in our day-to-day operations to quickly diagnose and resolve the problem.” Let’s complicate our efforts”. It didn’t qualify to that extent, but it meant Facebook employees were unable to communicate with each other about the “outage” or access the systems needed to end it.

From Facebook’s explanation, as well as information gathered from and from outside the company, it seems clear that the problem was related to the way Internet traffic was routed around the world – known as the domain name service. by two important technologies – DNS – and Border Gateway Protocol – BGP.

Although they do different things, the fundamental role of both of those technologies is basically the same: they are something like an address book or a route map for traffic to know where it is going. When records were changed or deleted, just before the stoppage began, apps and browsers couldn’t find their way to Facebook’s content, and the whole thing ended.

But other things remain unclear. Facebook has given no indication of how records could be changed without adequate security measures, noting that they are vital to the company’s operations.

These gaps in information are dangerous not only to Facebook’s reputation but also to the public’s understanding of the truth. Without verifiable or explicit updates to its cause, conspiracy theorists were able to flourish. For example, many suggested that Mark Zuckerberg deliberately took the site down to divert attention from the whistleblower scandal, but there is no indication that happened.

Some things will never be known, such as the true price. While there are several ways to estimate this – for example, Facebook loses $10m (£7.3m) an hour, and was down for six hours, and Mark Zuckerberg’s shareholding lost nearly $7bn – the world It would be very difficult to calculate the exact extent of loss across.

Some of that spending that would have otherwise occurred during this time will be returned immediately, as advertisers are likely to simply use the same budget now that the site is backed up. But some of it could go on forever: Mark Zuckerberg has previously expressed concern over the fact that when users leave its services, especially its private chat apps, during an outage, they may never come back. Huh.

In its apology, Facebook looked to highlight the vast range of companies that rely on its services, a move that has been central to its defense against both regulatory pressure and changes by Apple, which limit how Facebook can handle the business. How much can track its users. “To the vast community of people and businesses around the world that depend on us: We are sorry,” read an exemplary message, which is part of an apology issued on Facebook’s Twitter account.


Credit: www.independent.co.uk /

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