Life was interrupted, businesses were cut off from consumers, and some Facebook employees were locked out of their accounts when apps used by billions of people around the world went offline.
On Monday, October 4th, Facebook and its family of apps, including Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram, went offline for several hours. These vital communication tools used by billions basically just disappeared. The downtime really highlighted how reliant the entire world has become using these social media powerhouses.
The initial incident lasted about 6 hours, and users were scrambling to figure out why they couldn’t access anything. Users reported receiving error warnings on across all the apps, around 11:40am EST.
The company said it was resolving technical problems and restoring service as soon as possible. But the disruption offered a brief look at how deeply connected social media — and the businesses that rely on it — have become to our lives and how, when they go dark, the impact is immediate.
This only exacerbated the onslaught of troubles Facebook is now facing. It has grown to more than two billion people, and its sheer size has created new problems. It is struggling to police all of the content it carries, making errors that have set off alarms among users and advertisers over hate speech, misinformation and other unsavory material. Concerns about Facebook’s ability to protect privacy and its commitment to civil discourse, issues that are central to the organization’s mission of creating “a global community” have really come under scrutiny lately.
They expressed regret for the outage later in the day. “We’re sorry,” they wrote on Twitter when its apps were made available again. “We appreciate your patience.”
Because their digital credentials had stopped working, some support employees who had returned to work at the office were unable to enter buildings and conference rooms. Engineers said they couldn’t assess the outage because they couldn’t get to server locations. Luckily, all of the issues have since been resolved, and it seems to be back to business as usual!