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Facebook & Instagram Go Down, Services Restored After Hours Long Interuption

11:55 PM · Oct 4, 2021

In perhaps one of the strangest and most catastrophic IT blunders in recent years, Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and all other Facebook services went down after networking issues overwhelmed the platform's servers. The platforms were rendered unusable worldwide for hours as Facebook scrambled to restore services to all of its infrastructure. The outage reached so far as to impact third party sign-in options for sites configured to use Facebook's authentication, which also went offline, even Facebook's own internal tools for communication were compromised. The issue began shortly before 6am HST when users were unable to resolve Facebook, or any of its associated applications. At 11:30am HST the compromised name services for Facebook were restored and basic functionality returned, with more services coming back online afterwards. By 12:45pm HST we able to post into the Hawaii Tracker Facebook Group again. "To the huge community of people and businesses around the world who depend on us: we're sorry. We’ve been working hard to restore access to our apps and services and are happy to report they are coming back online now." ~ Facebook, 12:33pm HST So what happened? At roughly 5:40am HST, the Domain Name System entries for Facebook that acts as the internet's phonebook to connect devices to servers, were removed from the global routing tables. But that alone does not explain the prolonged outage and the difficulties Facebook is reporting in restoring services. The navigational routes to the DNS servers that the Border Gateway Protocol provides were also removed, creating a networking blackhole that no packets could escape. At this time it's unknown exactly how these BGP routes were removed, but it's possible that an internal error with no malicious intent started an unfortunate series of cascading events that made restoration significantly more difficult. We have spoken about digital resilience before, and the events today highlight the risks of putting all the IT eggs in one basket. We are proud to say that today's outage on Facebook, that essentially broke the Hawaii Tracker Facebook Group did not impact is our own social media platform outside of Facebook that we post all of our updates. We encourage you to make an account and become apart of our digitally resilient community so the next time a major platform goes down you have somewhere to stay connected. Making an account is easy and free.

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