The world found out what life would be like if Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp didn’t exist for a few hours.
Monday (Oct.4), social media was a spooky place for people who spend most of their time on Facebook and its family of apps it acquired. Ironically, right after a whistleblower revealed how shady the social media giant is when it comes to capitalizing off its user’s mental health during an episode of 60 Minutes on Sunday (Oct.3), the service came crashing down on Monday. Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp were useless for about five hours and revealed how attached people have grown to these apps.
Businesses, politicians, and everyday people felt the sting of the planetary outage due to the company built by Mark Zuckerberg pretty much monopolizing social media.
Per the New York Times:
In Mexico, politicians were cut off from their constituents. In Turkey, shopkeepers couldn’t sell their wares. And in Colombia, a nonprofit organization that uses WhatsApp to connect victims of gender-based violence to lifesaving services found its work impaired.
The Facebook outage on Monday was a planetary-scale demonstration of how essential the company’s services have become to daily life. Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger have long been more than handy tools for chatting and sharing photos. They are critical platforms for doing business, arranging medical care, conducting virtual classes, carrying out political campaigns, responding to emergencies, and much, much more.
In parts of the developing world, the cost of the Facebook outage was particularly pronounced. In India, Latin America, and Africa, its services have become almost a public utility, usually cheaper than a phone call and depended upon for much of the communication and commerce of daily life.
So what caused this massive outage, 9To5Mac reports that it “resulted from a mistake by the company’s own network engineers.” Before the revelation, it was believed the issue had something to do with the DNS – the domain name servers that tell devices which IP addresses to use to access services – but no one knew for sure what the exact issue was. Of course, many believed the outage resulted from an external hack or someone sabotaging the system from the inside.
Facebook eventually admitted to its massive mistake in a blog post writing:
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.
The outage also hit Zuckerberg financially. Bloomberg reported he lost $6 billion in hours due to Facebook’s stock plunging. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez used the moment to kick Facebook when it was down (pun intended).
Like with anything, Twitter found a way to make light of the situation, welcoming in the flood of Facebook and Instagram users who needed a place to spend their time since their favorite platforms were down.
LOL, you gotta love Twitter.
You can peep more reactions in the gallery below.
Photo: KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV / Getty