What happens when Facebook goes down? The recent outage of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp certainly made the news when coinciding with Congressional testimony by whistleblower Frances Haugen. Haugen alleged that Facebook prioritizes profit above safety, and she backed up her claims with a slew of internal documents to the press and Congress.
Was it a designed outage or a strange happenstance? Cloudflare explains that it was a technical snafu that required an essential reboot.
Facebook’s tight security systems resulted in a challenging recovery process. The problem began with a configuration change that affected the backbone routers that coordinated network traffic between their data centers. This interrupted communication, causing Facebook and other properties to “disappear” and blocked technicians from getting the service up and running again.
In the end, thanks to Facebook’s ongoing disaster drills and preparedness policies, their services were eventually restored without any further systemwide failures. Now, they will have a new set of cautionary drills and routines to implement. Facebook will continue to learn from these events moving forward.
Even a company as laser-focused on uptime as Facebook is not going to consistently achieve 100%. The lesson here is to be vigilant with disaster and recovery drills. No systems are ever entirely immune from going down. Even Facebook needs a reboot sometimes.