Today was that day… and I guess this shows our reliance on social media and related tools. Problems were caused all over the place as sites and systems that were reliant on, had data coming from or authentication provided by Facebook owned sites due to their unscheduled and unexpected disappearance from the internet.
Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger all fell offline today at about 16:45 BST (15:45 UTC). What started out looking like a simple configuration error that would be a temporary blip has turned into something quite a bit more serious – here, 6 hours later, there appears to be no movement to the social media giant coming back online.
While no one has confirmed the issue, the internet is speculating what has happened, initially it looked like a DNS problem but upon further investigation signs showed more to BGP, or Border Gateway Protocol. BGP is the internet’s way of announcing who handles what and how to get there.
So far, efforts to restore it appear to be being hampered by Facebook staff being unable to access the offices and/or people who can fix it being remote and unable to connect in.
The biggest question right now, is was it an accident or is there more to it, only time will tell however, once again, this outage highlights the major issues with centralising systems. In this case, all Facebook owned systems share the same back end, and this shows that it is one big single point of failure as right now, no Facebook owned or operated service is working.
As of 23:20 BST (22:20 UTC) services are starting to return, a little hit and miss right now but things are slowly coming back up and messages and posts are starting to be made again.