The Fall of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp: What We Know so Far

The latest on the massive social media failure
By Entrepreneur
Entrepreneur
Entrepreneur
Empowering People in the Business of Changing the World | Entrepreneur® is dedicated to fueling the world’s visionary leaders compelled to make a difference through their innovative ideas, businesses, and points of view.
October 5, 2021 Updated: October 5, 2021
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By Entrepreneur en Español

Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger on Monday suffered the longest of their service interruptions on record, a drop that affected millions of users around the world.

Why Did Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger Go Down?

It’s not uncommon for Facebook to have localized outages, but with nearly 3 billion monthly users, it is unusual that it has global “blackouts.”

According to the Ars Technica site, significant DNS flaws were found on Facebook. The Domain Name System is the service that translates human-readable host names (like Entrepreneur.com) to raw numeric IP addresses (like 19.223.456.245). Without a functional DNS, a computer basically does not know how to reach the servers that host the website it is looking for. However, the site mentions that Instagram also went down and its DNS services, which are hosted on Amazon, were functional. So at the moment we only have many theories and few answers.

This is what we know so far:

Starting around 11 a.m. Eastern time, WhatsApp users on both iPhone and Android were able to communicate through messages, calls, or video conferences.

The technology reporter of The New York Times, Sheera Frenkel, reported that some Facebook employees were not able to enter the buildings of the social network due to an interruption in internal services.

When trying to access Facebook through the browser, users received a domain error message, while Instagram and WhatsApp did not load new posts or allow new searches.

Facebook posted a message to users using another social media platform, Twitter, at 12:22 p.m. on Monday.

“We are aware that some people have problems accessing our applications and products,” the company wrote from its official account. “We are working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible and we apologize for any inconvenience.”

The Instagram PR team posted a similar message on the official Instagram Comms Twitter account.

“Instagram and your friends are having a bit of a difficult time right now, and you may have trouble using them,” the tweet read. “Bear with us, we’re on it! #Instagramdown.”

The site for detecting service interruptions in web pages Downdetector.com detected interruptions in densely populated areas such as Mexico City, Los Angeles, London, and Paris.

According to Euronews, Internet users who use their Facebook credentials to access third-party services, such as Pokemon Go, have also not been able to access due to lack of connection.

Frances Haugen, a former Facebook product engineer, came out Monday morning as the insider leaked numerous internal documents last week. She accused the company of “choosing profit over safety.”

Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen
Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen is interviewed by Scott Pelley for a CBS News 60 Minutes program in an undated photograph. (Robert Fortunato for CBS News/60 Minutes/Handout via Reuters)

On Wall Street, Facebook’s stock price fell nearly 6 percent to cut its value by $50 billion. For this reason, in just a few hours, Mark Zuckerberg’s personal wealth was reduced by almost $7 billion.

Entrepreneur
Empowering People in the Business of Changing the World | Entrepreneur® is dedicated to fueling the world’s visionary leaders compelled to make a difference through their innovative ideas, businesses, and points of view.