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Why were Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp down for over 6 hours?

Why were Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp down for over 6 hours?

Facebook on Monday stated that faulty configurations in its routers were the real cause of the almost six-hour-long outages. The server outage stopped over 3.5 billion users from accessing social media platforms. Read to know the real reason behind Facebook’s outage

So, what happened?

Why were Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp down for over 6 hours?

Around 11:40 ET, Facebook’s Domain Name System (DNS) records became unreachable. Soon people around the world could not log in or access their accounts. Additionally, people failed to post, view posts, and send messages. Moreover, people could not use the ‘Login with Facebook’ feature due to this. What is the DNS and how does a DNS issue cause outages? DNS-the internet’s phone book is what translates the hostname you type in the URL tab into their IP addresses-the location of where the site resides.

While DNS mishaps are common and easy to configure, this time it was much more serious. “Facebook’s outage appears to be caused by DNS; however that’s a just symptom of the problem. Facebook has withdrawn the so-called Border Gateway Protocol route that contains the IP addresses of its DNS nameservers. If DNS is the internet’s phone book, BGP is its navigation system; it decides what route data takes as it travels the information superhighway,” explained Troy Murush. In short, Facebook and all its other pages fell off the internet.

Facebook on the faulty configuration change

“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,” stated Facebook.

“Our services are now back online and we’re actively working to fully return them to regular operations. We want to make clear at this time we believe the root cause of this outage was a faulty configuration change. We also have no evidence that user data was compromised as a result of this downtime,” they clarified. Luckily, Facebook’s engineers were able to sort and rectify the problem.