Home » News » Tech » Facebook Suffers Two Outages In A Week: Refresher Of What Happened Earlier This Week
3-MIN READ

Facebook Suffers Two Outages In A Week: Refresher Of What Happened Earlier This Week

By: Rounak Kumar Gunjan

News18.com

Last Updated: October 09, 2021, 12:31 IST

Facebook has invested heavily in virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) and intends to connect its nearly three billion users through several devices and apps. (Reuters File)

Facebook has invested heavily in virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) and intends to connect its nearly three billion users through several devices and apps. (Reuters File)

Facebook has said that some users are struggling to reach the company's servers. This comes after the company's services faced two outages within one week.

Facebook faced its second outage within a week last night, after what was deemed to be one of the largest outages ever earlier this week, on Monday. Users were not able to use the service for hours on end on Monday, while on Friday night, the Facebook, Instagram, and other services were down for a couple of hours. The crippling outage at Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook Messenger, and more Facebook services on Monday occurred because of a problem in the company’s domain name system (DNS), while reason behind the outage on Friday is not known. Facebook today said that some users are struggling to reach the company’s servers. Our guess is that this is what caused an outage on Friday night, but nothing can be said for sure. Let us take a look at the reason behind Facebook’s outage earlier this week, in order to get a better idea.

Facebook on Monday said that the outage was due to a configuration change to its routers, and users have nothing to worry about. “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," the company said in a blog post. Facebook said that the configuration changes on the routers that coordinate network traffic between its data centers caused issues that interrupted this communication. Basically, Facebook’s machines weren’t able to talk to each other.

Before Facebook’s official statement, web infrastructure and website security company Cloudfare also detailed as to what caused the issue. In a blog post, Cloudfare said that “Facebook and related properties disappeared from the Internet in a flurry of Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) updates." The problems began with a routine BGP update that went wrong, wiping out the DNS routing information that Facebook needs to allow other networks to find its sites.

Before understanding what these technical terms like DNS or BGP stand for and means, News18 tried to break down the problem into simpler words. Let’s start with the basics:

What is DNS and what went wrong with it?

According to a report by Bloomberg, DNS is like a phone book for the internet. It’s the tool that converts a web domain, like Facebook.com, into the actual internet protocol, or IP, address where the site resides. Think of Facebook.com as the person one might look up in the white pages, and the IP address as the physical address they’ll find.

On Monday, a technical problem related to Facebook’s DNS records caused outages. When a DNS error occurs, that makes turning Facebook.com into a user’s profile page impossible. That’s apparently what happened inside Facebook, but at a scale that’s temporarily crippled the entire Facebook ecosystem.

Not only were Facebook’s primary platforms down, but also their internal applications, including the company’s own email system. Users on Twitter and Reddit also indicated that employees at the company’s Menlo Park, California, campus were unable to access offices and conference rooms that required a security badge. That could happen if the system that grants access is also connected to the same domain, Facebook.com.

Now what is BGP?

The same report by Bloomberg also states that the problem at Facebook Inc. appeared to have its origins in the Border Gateway Protocol, or BGP. If DNS is the internet’s phone book, BGP is its postal service. When a user enters data in the internet, BGP determines the best available paths that data could travel.

Minutes before Facebook’s platforms stopped loading, public records show that a large number of changes were made to Facebook’s BGP routes, according to Cloudflare Inc.’s chief technology officer, John Graham-Cumming, in a Tweet.

While the BGP snafu may explain why Facebook’s DNS has failed, the company hasn’t yet commented on why the BGP routes were withdrawn early on October 4.

Are Facebook Services Back Up?

Yes. Most parts of Facebook’s services including WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook are back up and running. While we are being able to use all the three services flawlessly at the time of writing this article. Facebook also says that its systems are all back up and running. Even the company’s WhatsApp Twitter handle has said that the instant messaging platform is back and running at 100 percent.

Read all the Latest News , Breaking News and IPL 2022 Live Updates here.

first published:October 09, 2021, 12:31 IST
last updated:October 09, 2021, 12:31 IST
Read More