Facebook went offline for nearly six hours after a system error caused it to shut down temporarily.
Its sister companies, Instagram and WhatsApp, also experienced failures. Facebook’s engineering team learned that “configuration changes on the backbone routers that coordinate network traffic” between its worldwide data centers caused the outage. Facebook did not specify what the configuration changes entailed. “People and businesses around the world rely on us every day to stay connected. We understand the impact that outages like these have on people’s lives, as well as our responsibility to keep people informed about disruptions to our services. We apologize to all those affected, and we’re working to understand more about what happened today so we can continue to make our infrastructure more resilient,” Facebook said.
Mike Schroepfer, chief technology officer for Facebook, tweeted a short apology on Twitter at 5:46 p.m. to announce that the platforms were returning online shortly after nearly six hours of service blackout. “Facebook services coming back online now – may take some time to get to 100 percent. To every small and large business, family, and individual who depends on us, I’m sorry.” Twitter users responded to Schroepfer‘s tweet by asking if Facebook may reinstate their accounts as they rely on the platform to connect with loved ones and network. “Why did a failure in the entertainment apps Instagram and Facebook take down essential services such as WhatsApp? Is putting all your Facebook eggs in one basket good for people who depend on secure communications for their lives?” replied one user.
Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of the platforms, lost $7 billion after stocks plummeted due to the blackout. Per NASDAQ, Facebook stock (FB) dropped over $20 the same day. The stock’s storyline reflects the shutdown; when the trading day opened on October 4, Facebook was selling for $335.53. By the time investors realized the outage was to remain for the majority of the day, the company’s stock plummeted to $322.70 and closed with $326.23. The next day, Facebook’s stock recovered slightly to close at $332.96. Facebook has also been under recent scrutiny for a whistleblowing scandal, so its share prices remain at a bearish return.