Facebook Outage

When Facebook was down for over five hours, there were a lot of people that weren’t impressed – so what happened?

In the most basic terms, Facebook’s systems stopped talking to the wider internet.

Cloudflare commented that it was as if “someone had pulled the cables from their data centres all at once and disconnected them from the internet.”

For a little more detail, Facebook stated that “configuration changes on the backbone routers that coordinate network traffic between our data centres caused issues that interrupted this communication”. This then had a “cascading effect…bringing our services to a halt”.

Mark Zuckerberg came out with an apology statement as many people and businesses rely on their services. So, it being down for five hours was detrimental to them. And that’s on a global scale.

Facebook has also felt the effect, not only in money but also in public opinion. Embarrassingly, they had to post updates and an apology via their main rival company Twitter. And of course, people were very quick on the Internet to create memes and jokes about the outage – via Twitter of course.

In addition to this, arguably the biggest issue for Facebook will have been the effect it had on its revenue and stock price. With its shares dropping by nearly 5% as a result of the outage, the personal wealth of Mark Zuckerberg is reported to be down by as much as £4.4bn!

The loss of money for the company itself is estimated to be around $60m too. This was mainly a result of ads not being served for more than 6 hours across all the platforms.

Why did it happen to Facebook?

Being such a huge company, most people think that tech issues are far beneath them and would never cause such a huge problem. However, the recent outage was not the first or worst – in 2019 the sites were affected by an issue for 24 hours. It’s a clear reminder that even tech issues can bring down the most powerful companies.

From this, people might call for Facebook to invest in better hosting or security. But alas, they already host all of their platforms and reportedly spent $606 million in their data centres in 2011 alone.

They also had more than 60,000 servers at their centre when the last count was released in 2010. By now, this is more likely to be 5 – 10 times that number!

What does this mean for us?

One of the main things to take into account from the Facebook outage is that it can happen to any of us.

Whilst most aren’t quite as big of a company as Facebook, issues with hosting and websites can occur at any point, and to any website. ‘Time is money’ is quite an apt phrase in this case and it’s important to try and solve the issue as quickly as possible.

Even though Facebook spends such a large amount of money on servers and hosting, this massive issue still happens to them – and has happened before. Sometimes, things don’t always go as planned with technology. But investing in decent hosting with a good support system to turn to is vital, so these issues can be resolved.

And hopefully, you don’t have to use your rival company to talk to your customers!


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