The six-hour outage on Monday that brought down Facebook's entire network of products — including Instagram, WhatsApp, and Oculus — was caused by a router issue, or something, and both the company and CEO Mark Zuckerberg say they're very sorry you had to stop scrolling for an afternoon.
"To all the people and businesses around the world who depend on us, we are sorry for the inconvenience caused by today’s outage across our platforms," writes Facebook's VP of infrastructure, Santosh Janardhan, who was tasked with the blog-post mea culpa Monday night. And Janardhan seemed to confirm the rumors about delays in getting the outage fixed that were caused by employee ID badges not working. "The underlying cause of this outage also impacted many of the internal tools and systems we use in our day-to-day operations, complicating our attempts to quickly diagnose and resolve the problem," Janardhan says.
The outage began before 9 a.m. Pacific Time, and just before noon on the East Coast, and was not really resolved until about evening on both coasts. As CNBC notes, this was Facebook's longest outage since 2008, when the social platform — which still had not gobbled up competitors Instagram and WhatsApp — was down for a full day.
The last similar worldwide outage impacting all three platforms lasted for several hours one morning in July 2019.
Janardhan goes on to explain that the outage was caused by "[faulty] configuration changes on the backbone routers that coordinate network traffic between our data centers caused issues that interrupted this communication." And, "This disruption to network traffic had a cascading effect on the way our data centers communicate, bringing our services to a halt."
By one estimate, Facebook as a company lost $200,000 for every minute its services were down — so, potentially $72 million lost in just that six hours? Kinda puts things in perspective, if that figure is close to the truth, about just how few fucks Facebook currently gives about a couple of congressional hearings or a whistleblower who confirms that they're destroying democracy.
Zuckerberg, of course, couched his apology in how this might have impacted all your lives out there, saying in a post just after 4 p.m. PT, "Sorry for the disruption today – I know how much you rely on our services to stay connected with the people you care about." Nevermind about the $72 mil!
In related news, that whistleblower and former Facebook data scientist, Frances Haugen, had her day testifying before a Senate Commerce subcommittee today. And among the pull quotes are:
- On Facebook's news feed algorithm: "I'm a strong proponent of chronological ranking, ordering by time, with a little bit of spammed emotion. Because I think we don't want computers deciding what we focus on, we should have software that is human-scaled, or humans have conversations together, not computers facilitating who we get to hear from."
- On why she was there: "The company's leadership knows how to make Facebook and Instagram safer but won't make the necessary changes because they have put their astronomical profits before people. Congressional action is needed."
- On work she did tracking Chinese participation on the platform tracking citizens and other counter-espionage efforts: "Facebook’s consistent understaffing of the counterespionage information operations and counter terrorism teams is a national security issue, and I’m speaking to other parts of Congress about that … I have strong national security concerns about how Facebook operates today."
- On Instagram bullying and kids (which was ostensibly what this hearing was about): "The kids who are bullied on Instagram, the bullying follows them home. It follows them into their bedrooms. The last thing they see before they go to bed at night is someone being cruel to them. Or the first thing in the morning is someone being cruel to them. Kids are learning that their own friends, people who they care about, are cruel to them."
- And on what she says Facebook needs to do: "You can declare moral bankruptcy, you can admit you did something wrong. And we can more forward... They need to admit they did something wrong, and they need help to solve these problems."
Top image: Facebook whistleblower, Frances Haugen appears before the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Subcommittee at the Russell Senate Office Building on October 05, 2021 in Washington, DC. Haugen left Facebook in May and provided internal company documents about Facebook to journalists and others, alleging that Facebook consistently chooses profit over safety. (Photo by Matt McClain-Pool/Getty Images)