At the time of dictating this, Facebook has been down for about two hours. They have 5,000 engineers (more?) and they can’t deliver the bloody website! I am sure that almost everyone has never experienced this before. Billions of people are reliant on Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp. They are all run by the same infrastructure. We are not told what has gone wrong but my analysis is that browsers can’t connect to the servers (computers) containing the information that is on these social media sites.
It gets the mind thinking. For example, what do people do when they can no longer get onto Facebook? It is as if a big hole has opened up for billions of people. They can get back to the simple life and stop sweating over a Facebook post or comment. No more trolling. No more arguments. No more worry about this or that on social media. I have decided that life is better without Facebook. I think we should get rid of all social media and get back to communicating normally. The genie is out of the box unfortunately. And you’ll never get it back in the box. These massive outages (about 7 hours) are temporary as there is a ton of backup on Facebook. The data is all safe. It is pretty well impossible to blow it all up.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of cat rescue websites on Facebook. And they do sterling work. Temporarily, I hope, they been shut down. Marc Zuckerberg is going to be worried because social media is a competitive business. He has already got problems with running the site in terms of privacy issues and the damaging effects that Facebook has on young people. Facebook share price is dropping and this outage is not going to do much for the confidence of Facebook users. This is the last thing that Marc Zuckerberg wants.
There are also millions of businesses reliant on good old FB to keep running reliably. The owner of a food delivery service in Delhi told the newspaper: “My whole business is down”. Kaput. Finito. Is it wise to rely 100% on Facebook for your business model?
Apparently, Facebook are notoriously silent about the causes of these problems. I would not expect them to say anything on what caused it. It looks like the problem is a change to a configuration change in the company’s domain name system (DNS) entries. According to cybersecurity journalist Brian Krebs the reason for the DNS change is unknown at this point, saying it “could well have been the result of an internal, system-wide change or update that went awry”. This is technical stuff. But DNS configuration is 100% right or wrong. If they are wrong there is no website. Krebs later tweeted: “Confirmed: The DNS records that tell systems how to find http://Facebook.com or http://Instagram.com got withdrawn this morning from the global routing tables”. Someone f**k*d up. It cost a $100m in ad revenue and many billions is share value plunge.
Facebook sent a team of engineers to the actual servers in California to tinker with them. There are a lot of failsafe systems in place so it wasn’t easy. It was not possible to do the corrections remotely. I’ve been told that, in effect, they turned the servers off and on! That fixed it. That is an oversimplification perhaps.
I’ve got two Facebook pages myself and I do get referrals from Facebook to my websites. Obviously, those have dried up but on the upside people who might have gone to Facebook might now go to my sites instead. I would hope that I don’t get a drop off in visitors at this time.
I think people should sit back and enjoy the moment while Facebook is down. It’s a novel experience not to be able to visit the website. We should ask ourselves how it feels. Do we feel better? Can we get a book out off the shelf and read it? Can we talk to our friends instead? Perhaps children talk to their parents about something important instead of trying to find an answer on social media? There are alternatives. It’s going back to a simpler life which is no bad thing.
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