facebook outage reason: The Facebook outage: What exactly happened?

facebook outage reason: The Facebook outage: What exactly happened?

Bengaluru: Facebook, along with its family of apps including Instagram and WhatsApp,
faced a six-hour-long outage on Monday, rendering inaccessible the services that the world’s largest social media network offers to billions of its users.

The disruption was due to
faulty configuration changes made to Facebook’s routers, the company said, but researchers have pinpointed the reason for Facebook’s outage to issues with something called a Border Gateway Protocol (BGP).

What is BGP?

The internet is a network of massive networks known as autonomous systems. The Border Gateway Protocol is used to route information from within these massive networks to the rest of the internet. It is essentially a way for these autonomous systems to exchange routing information between each other.

‘The Verge’
explains BGP as being maps of autonomous systems that they share with others. “Imagine BGP as a bunch of people making and updating maps that show you how to get to YouTube or Facebook,” The Verge said. These so-called maps are constantly changing just as the internet is.

Also Read:
Mark Zuckerberg apologises for Facebook, WhatsApp disruption


A day after a faulty configuration change knocked Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram offline for almost six hours, a former employee turned whistleblower testified before a US senate committee, accusing the company of making “destructive choices”.

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So why did Facebook go down?

Several internet traffic analysts, researchers and sources within Facebook who’ve spoken to the media pin the blame for Facebook’s global outage on issues with the BGP.

In a blogpost, Facebook explained the incident as a bad configuration change made to its backbone routers, which had a cascading effect and ultimately brought its services to a halt.

A blogpost by Cloudflare researchers says they noticed “Facebook had stopped announcing the routes” which led to the company’s DNS servers going offline. “With those withdrawals, Facebook and its sites had effectively disconnected themselves from the internet,” the
Cloudflare blog read.

Also Read:
Facebook is weaker than we knew

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Is your data on Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp safe?

Facebook has emphasised in its blogpost that its engineers have pinpointed the root cause of the issue to a faulty configuration change and that it has no evidence at this time that user data was in any way compromised as a result of the downtime.

Experts too said they have not found any evidence of foul play or hacking that could have led to Facebook’s services going offline on Monday.

“We want to make clear at this time we believe the root cause of this outage was a faulty configuration change. We also have no evidence that user data was compromised as a result of this downtime,” Facebook said in its blogpost.

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What was the impact?

Facebook’s ‘Big Blue’ social network has more than 2.8 billion users globally, while WhatsApp has 2 billion users and Instagram too has over 1 billion users today.

India is home to the largest user base for several of these apps: Facebook has 410 million users in India, WhatsApp 530 million and Instagram 210 million. A large number of local businesses are reliant on Facebook’s services, and outages do not augur well for them. For instance, India has services like Meesho, where sellers rely heavily on communication through platforms such as WhatsApp—a driving force behind Facebook’s investment in the firm.

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