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What Facebook says caused the massive app outage

During a global service outage that kept its social media apps offline for much of Monday, Facebook Inc. blamed a problem with its network configuration, adding that it had found no evidence that user data had been compromised during the outage.

As the company's engineering team explained in a blog post late Monday night, "this disruption to network traffic had a cascading effect on the way our data centers communicated, bringing our services to a complete stop."

The technical problem forced Facebook's main social network, its photo app Instagram, and its messaging services WhatsApp and Messenger to go offline for several hours, marking one of the most prolonged and widespread outages in recent memory. As a result, a suite of services that more than 2.75 billion people rely on daily to communicate, conduct business, and consume news were rendered inoperable as a result of the attack. It dominated news reports and sent people all over the world scrambling to find alternative apps and services in an effort to stay connected and informed during the outage.

Immediately following the restoration of the network, Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg issued an apology on his Facebook page. In an email, he expressed regret for the inconvenience. "I understand how much you rely on our services to stay connected with the people you care about."

The disruption had an impact on Facebook's internal tools and communication systems, adding to the difficulty of identifying and resolving the problem for engineers working to identify and resolve the problem. Workplace, the company's internal work product, was also impacted. It was necessary to physically visit a server facility and manually reset some servers in order to resolve the underlying problem, according to an official spokesman.

"I'm sorry to every small and large business, family, and individual who relies on us," Chief Technology Officer Mike Schroepfer said in a tweet sent out late on Monday afternoon. Facebook's engineering blog issued a formal apology on behalf of the company.

The loss of Facebook has resulted in a gain for other social media platforms. As a result, Twitter Inc.'s network remained operational, with CEO Jack Dorsey tweeting his support for the private messaging app Signal as an alternate to WhatsApp. According to Sensor Tower, Signal gained millions of new users on the day in question, while Telegram, a messaging app whose functionality is similar to WhatsApp's, climbed 55 spots to the top of the iPhone download chart in the United States.

While it is not uncommon for Facebook's apps to experience glitches from time to time, these issues rarely last longer than a few minutes. Facebook's outage was the largest it had ever seen, according to Downdetector, a company that monitors internet problems. It received more than 10.6 million reports from users around the world.

The prolonged outage that occurred on Monday was the latest in a string of adversity for the social media giant. The company was accused of prioritizing profits over user safety by a former employee who turned whistle-blower, who appeared on CBS's "60 Minutes" Sunday morning. Thousands of damaging documents were also handed over to U.S. lawmakers and the Wall Street Journal, which published a series of articles last month about Facebook's struggles with content moderation and Instagram's negative psychological impact on teenagers. The former employee, Frances Haugen, was also fired from Facebook.

In his testimony before a Senate subcommittee on Tuesday, the whistle-blower intends to tell lawmakers the "frightening truth" about Facebook's practices.

According to a copy of her prepared testimony, Haugen will tell the Senate on Tuesday that Facebook became a $1 trillion company by paying for its profits with our safety, including the safety of our children. 'I came forward because I realized a frightening truth: almost no one outside of Facebook is aware of what is going on within Facebook.' The company's leadership withholds critical information from the general public, the United States government, its shareholders, and governments around the world," says the author.

At the close of trading in New York, Facebook shares were down 4.9 percent to $326.23. They had declined before the service disruption was reported, perhaps as a result of the whistle-appearance blower's on "60 Minutes."

A dispute with Apple Inc. resulted in some of Facebook's internal apps ceasing to function on the iPhone maker's platform in 2019, as well as on other platforms in general. The extent of the disruption on Monday was significantly greater. During the outage, some employees were unable to access Facebook's identity-badge system in their respective offices.

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