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Last night, Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp suffered a global outage. Several million users were unable to access the services for several hours, taking refuge on Twitter and other messaging applications. Today everything is back to normal. We explain to you what happened.

This is one of the biggest blackouts Facebook has ever seen. For about five hours, none of its applications was usable. The news feed loaded indefinitely, unable to display the usual content, while messages no longer sent. In short, Facebook, Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp were inaccessible for a good part of the evening, before a gradual return to normal during the night.

Since then, the group of Mark Zuckerberg has expressed itself somewhat on the causes of this giant blackout. While the company is in the spotlight following the revelations of a whistleblower, this event is a new blow to its reputation. Between what happened and the short and long term consequences, here is everything we know on the subject at the moment.

How did the failure manifest itself?

It all started yesterday Monday, October 4, around 5:30 p.m.. On Down Detector, several thousand reports are pouring in simultaneously, reporting difficulties in connecting to the various Facebook applications. In total, these are more than 14 million people who testified to the technical problem. There are probably many more, social networks cumulating several billion users.

Many of them have also taken refuge on Twitter, where the hashtag #facebookdown quickly appeared in Trends. Many have complained about repeated blackouts. Remember that the last Instagram goes back only a month. It was not until the current of the night that things returned to normal. This morning, everything seems to be back to normal.

What are the causes of the failure?

After making sure that the services were in good working order, Facebook issued a statement that gives initial answers. “Our engineering teams have learned that a change in the configuration of the main routers that coordinate traffic between our data centers has resulted in technical difficulties resulting in all communication being cut off.”, explains the group.

The latter thus confirms the hypothesis a failure related to an update of the routing systems. “This disruption of network exchanges has had a cascading effect on the way our data centers communicate, causing our services to go down.”, he specifies, before ensuring “That user data has been compromised”.

Facebook

What are the consequences for users?

If, for most users, the failure was only to wait to be able to load the sites and applications again, for others the consequences were more serious. Indeed, in many countries, Messenger and WhatsApp replace SMS because of their free access to relatively expensive packagess. Thus, several traders were unable to continue their business because they were unable to receive orders from their customers.

After the blackout, Facebook also apologized to all these professionals which depend on the social network: “To all the people and businesses around the world who depend on us, we are sorry for the inconvenience caused by the outage on our platforms. We have done everything in our power to restore access, and our systems are now operational again. “

Also unable to connect to sites using Facebook authentication. For concurrent applications, on the other hand, the blackout was blessed bread. “Hello to literally everyone”, had fun on Twitter, while Signal reported “Registrations on the rise”. The courier service was also more compassionate by wishing “Good luck to the engineers”.

On the same subject: Facebook confuses black people with monkeys, the social network apologizes

What are the consequences for Facebook?

At first relatively silent, several Facebook employees ended up speaking during the evening. After apologizing, some explained that the failure also affected the group’s internal equipment : « The underlying cause of this outage also impacted many internal tools and systems that we use in our day-to-day operations, making it difficult for us to quickly diagnose and resolve the issue. “

Several employees were unable to access their desks due to badges no longer needed. So they had no choice but to use other messaging apps, including Discord and Zoom, to communicate with their colleagues.

But the biggest consequence is certainly at the level of the stock market. At the end of the day yesterday, Facebook’s price fell 4.9% on Wall Street. It must be said that the group had a complicated September. In recent weeks, whistleblower and former employee Frances Haugen has exposed many compromising internal documents.

In the latter, we learn in particular that Facebook does not apply its moderation rules for 5.8 million users, or that it is perfectly aware of its negative impact on the mental health of adolescents. In the space of a few hours, Mark Zuckerberg’s fortune was cut by $ 6 billion.

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