One single mistake caused the massive Facebook and WhatsApp outage yesterday
There was an outcry around the world when on Monday, October 4 of 2021, Facebook and all of its online services went offline for several hours. This also included the popular messaging service WhatsApp, which many people worldwide rely on for their everyday communication with their smartphones. For such users, the Facebook and WhatsApp outage was certainly an annoyance, but how could the servers of one of the largest tech companies in the world stay down for such a long time?
Facebook has now officially answered this question in a short and not very detailed blog post. According to the post, Facebook's backbone routers were the reason for the outage. A routine update of said routers caused a malfunction that lead to the servers being inaccessible, even though they were operating normally. The company also emphasizes that there was no hacker attack or any other malicious activity behind the outage.
But since the responsible developers at Facebook were also unable to access their servers remotely, the issue could not be solved immediately. Instead, a software engineer had to gain physical access to the data center in order to bring Facebook and WhatsApp back online. To make things worse, said software engineer was apparently an inexperienced employee who only executed instructions that were given to him over the phone. Nevertheless, this adventurous story had a happy ending since all services went back online after several hours.