The internet was like a snow day in the late hours of Monday. Facebook and other apps under its hood, including WhatsApp and Instagram, were down for several hours, leaving users perplexed and uneasy-- to be fair, these social media apps have become an integral part of our lives.
These apps are no longer just used for chats between friends and families but vital communication between businesses. Facebook has evolved into a platform used for growing your business with the 'Facebook for Business' project. As of 2021, there are more than 200 million small businesses active on Facebook. That's more than 200 million small business owners who were unable to earn in those five hours when the social media giant was inaccessible.
According to outage tracking website, DownDetector, the apps went down at around 21:30PM (Indian Standard Time). The apps, which houses 3.5 billion users globally, had issues with sending or recieving messages while the feed failed to load or refresh.
Messaging platform WhatsApp immediately issued a statement on the only other popular social media app that was working- Twitter. “We’re aware that some people are experiencing issues with WhatsApp at the moment. We’re working to get things back to normal and will send an update here as soon as possible,” stated WhatsApp.
Meanwhile Facebook issued a statement apologising to all the people and businesses that were depended on the app. It said "Our 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."
Technology outages are not rare and Facebook had several over the years. Its last major outage occured in 2019 when its site was inaccessible for 24 hours due to a technical error. But this time, it wasn't just one app that went down but all of Facebook's apps, including WhatsApp and Instagram.
Facebook's Mounting Problems
Facebook has never failed to grab the spotlight. Over the years, it has managed to garner fair share of criticisms for several reasons. In India, the site has faced allegations of favouring the ruling party BJP and its hate-speech policies. It has been accused of meddling with US elections. More recently, a whiste-blower went to the media to reveal that Facebook is aware of the harmful effects of its services, including how Instagram is toxic for teenage girls, and didn't do anything about it. Yesterday's outage is surely not going to help curb its problems.
Someone was happy though
If there was someone who benefited from all the drama last night, it was Twitter. When Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram went down, users flooded into the next familiar social media app available- Twitter. The microblogging site was pretty sleek about it too, posting the following tweet when they heaerd of the outage.
The tweet garnered 2.4 million likes in just 4 hours. The sudden influx of the users from Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp into Twitter even cause the site to slow down, according to some Twitter users. Regardless, users around the globe used the tweeting platform to share their amusement and bewilderment in regard to the outage.