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Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp are back again, but what went wrong?

After an hours-long outage from the social media giant’s platforms, what actually went wrong behind the scenes for such a massive misfire to have taken place?

Millions of us found ourselves adrift from our usual social media activities on Monday evening, due to a sudden outage across Facebook’s platforms, which include Instagram and WhatsApp.

While the sudden and unexplained downtime was baffling at the time, and apparently cost the brand $60 million, the company has since explained why everything went drastically downhill in an official post on its website.

According to the statement, Facebook’s engineering teams “have learned that configuration changes on the backbone routers that coordinate network traffic between our data centers caused issues that interrupted this communication. This disruption to network traffic had a cascading effect on the way our data centers communicate, bringing our services to a halt.”

If you’re still just as confused, Cloudflare has published an extensive breakdown of how exactly the outage occurred. According to this in-depth analysis, Facebook’s Border Gateway Protocol failed to inform routers of the correct pathway to access, and the resulting traffic of apps and users repeatedly trying and failing to access the site only exacerbated the problem. 

That’s the technical explanation at least, but on Twitter — one of the few social media platforms not under Facebook’s umbrella — plenty of people took the chance to make their own tongue-in-cheek explanations for the bewildering event.

Could all the chaos have been down to one enthusiastic new employee accidentally having brought the whole system crashing down, only to remain blissfully unaware until the next morning?

Or could the real reason have been a haphazardly-placed glass of fizzy pop tilting over and splashing an important server with its sugary-sweet contents?

One Twitter user wisely warned us of the peril those poor souls on Oculus VR must have been facing, trapped in another dimension of purgatory until the software was repaired.

And as per usual, the chance to stoke up inter-generational strife wasn’t missed, as potshots were taken at older relatives who seem to scorn social media yet can’t keep themselves from posting cringeworthy content on Facebook every fifteen minutes. On the bright side, at least the outage gave us some brief respite from that onslaught.

 

 

 

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