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Massive Global Facebook Outage Affected Over 3.5 Billion People

Yesterday was a pretty eventful day for influencers, social media managers, and casual social media users (or uneventful, depending on how you look at it). Yes, we’re talking about themassive global Facebook outage that saw Facebook-owned apps like Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp go down for over six hours.

For those living under a rock, the outage began around 11:40 AM eastern time on  October 4 and lasted until around 6:30 PM, affecting over 3.5 billion users worldwide.

It’s been reported that the outage caused significant damage to the social media giant, resulting in shares plummeting and costing founder Mark Zuckerberg an estimated $6 billion.

Besides platforms shutting down for several hours, some eagle-eyed observers also noticed that during the outage, the Facebook domain went up for sale. Considering the fact that Facebook and all its other platforms are now functioning as normal, it’s safe to say nobody was able to purchase the domain out from under them. However, it’d be pretty interesting to see how that situation would have played out.

So, what exactly caused such an unprecedented event? Facebook confirmed it was “configuration changes on the backbone routers that co-ordinate network traffic between our data centres caused issues that interrupted this communication” and had a “cascading effect… bringing our services to a halt.”

Facebook added that it is still trying to determine what exactly happened so it can “make our infrastructure more resilient,” but that there was “no evidence that user data was compromised.”

Once all platforms came back online yesterday evening, Mark Zuckerberg also issued an apology on his public Facebook page, posting:

“Sorry for the disruption today — I know how much you rely on our services to stay connected with the people you care about.”

Many have theorized that the outage was caused by something much bigger than just a glitch, and is related to former Facebook employee Frances Haugen’s upcoming testimony on Capitol Hill. Haugen is expected to testify today about allegations that the company “chooses profits over safety’

The Ripple Effect

Besides social media users being unable to post about their day-to-day lives or latest anti-vax theories, the outage had a massive effect on billions of people and businesses around the world.

Here’s one example: For over six hours, Twitter experienced a massive boost in popularity as Instagram and Facebook users flooded the platform in order to communicate with one another and find out more information about the outage. In fact, traffic was so unusually high that Twitter experienced its own small outage.

hello literally everyone — Twitter (@Twitter) October 4, 2021

59.6 million nuggets for my friends — Twitter (@Twitter) October 4, 2021

It’s also important to note that for some, this outage was merely an inconvenience that meant a day off from social media, but for small businesses and marketing professionals who rely on Facebook and Instagram to communicate with customers and market themselves, this outage was pretty devastating. Fortunately the outage was resolved in less than a day, and no significant damage was caused (with the exception of Facebook’s monetary loss and damaged reputation).