Social media outage caused global disruption

Facebook disruption hurt Instagram and WhatsApp business users.

Facebook has issued an apology for a global outage on the 4th of October 2021, that caused disruption to all the people and businesses around the world who depend on the social media site. 

Santosh Janardhan VP Infrastructure at Facebook issued the statement offering apologies for “the inconvenience” caused by the outage across platforms that included Instagram and WhatsApp.  

“We’ve been working as hard as we can to restore access, and our systems are now back up and running,” he stated. “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.” 

Janardhan noted the engineering teams have learned that configuration changes on the backbone routers that coordinate network traffic between our data centers caused issues that interrupted this communication. This disruption to network traffic had a cascading effect on the way our data centers communicate, bringing our services to a halt. 

“Our services are now back online and we’re actively working to fully return them to regular operations. We want to make clear that there was no malicious activity behind this outage — its root cause was a faulty configuration change on our end,” he said. “We also have no evidence that user data was compromised as a result of this downtime.” 

People and businesses around the world rely on Facebook every day to stay connected, noted Janardhan. He stated the company understood the impact that outages like these have on people’s lives, as well as its “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,” he said. 

Barry Silic CTO Cloud and Cybersecurity at Macquarie Telecom Group said it was important people focus less on pointing fingers and more on starting a meaningful conversation. 

“Every business will experience a cyber-attack or a human error at some stage, and if organisations become too afraid to speak up in case their name is splashed on a headline, we will see an increasing number of incidents go un-reported. 

“Cyber-crime losses across Australia totalled $33 billion last year, and this figure will not decrease until we encourage leaders to move past their fear of reputational damage, realise that even the best companies have holes in their cyber-security posture and ask for help.” 

Marcus Thompson, AM, PhD, senior advisor, Macquarie Telecom Group and retired Army officer and former Head of Information Warfare for the Australian Defence Force stated thousands of Australian organisations large and small, commercial enterprises and not-for-profits rely on Facebook to operate and have woken up today with no alternative platform to reach their stakeholders.  

“That this is happening during the pandemic – on the cusp of the easing of restrictions when social media marketing will be critical in helping many businesses bounce back – makes the situation even worse,” he said. 

“The outage highlights the over-reliance Australian businesses have on international digital platforms and systems. When cyberattacks or other disruptions inevitably strike these international platforms, with no local, sovereign networks, infrastructure or methods to fall back on, we’re at the whim of clean-up and remedial measures taking place half a world away. 

 In Australia we have some of the greatest data and security skills in the world, but we don’t leverage them nearly enough to help us connect with each other and with the wider world. Events like this and the recent Fastly outage demonstrate the thin tightrope we’re walking on when we rely on companies in other countries for critical digital services and infrastructure.” 







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