Internet experts have weighed in on what might have caused Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp to go offline.
Facebook and its various platforms, including Instagram and WhatsApp, went offline on Monday, October 4, at just before 12:00pm (EDT). The outage was experience all around the world, with many people taking to Twitter to share their reactions. The outage lasted for over six hours, with not much information from Facebook about what was causing it.
While many theories and conspiracies circled the internet about what may have caused the global crash of Facebook, a collection of experts have offered insight with a fairly simple explanation.
When Facebook went dark, the company released a vague statement saying it was aware and apologized for the inconvenience:
We’re aware that some people are having trouble accessing our apps and products. We’re working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible, and we apologize for any inconvenience.
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. Thank you for bearing with us.
During the outage, many theories about what caused it began to circle. Some people thought the hacker group Anonymous was behind it. One verified user on Twitter called @BenjaminEnfield even shared a screenshot stating that a large section of the routing had been ‘deleted’ and ‘that means Facebook is GONE.’ With Facebook now back, people are beginning to piece together what took place to bring down the internet giant.
Troy Mursch, chief research officer of cyberthreat intelligence company Bad Packets, spoke to Wired and gave his opinion on what may have been the main issue. He said, ‘Facebook’s outage appears to be caused by DNS; however that’s a just symptom of the problem.’
DNS stands for Domain Name System, which is what became unreachable when Facebook went down. DNS is what allows people to find the websites they are looking for on the internet. Facebook’s DNS was apparently not reachable during its outage.
Angelique Medina of Cisco ThousandEyes also spoke to Wired. She says the best way to understand this concept is to ‘think of it like a game of telephone.’ Instead of people, the game is played by networks talking to each other and providing ways to be discoverable. ‘They announce this route to their neighbor and their neighbor will propagate it out to their peers,’ she said.
John Graham-Cumming of Cloudflare told Wired that he did not know the exact reason for Facebook’s outage, but that ‘It appears that Facebook has done something to their routers, the ones that connect the Facebook network to the rest of the internet.’
As of publishing, Facebook is back up and running, but has yet to release a statement about what caused the outage.