On Wednesday, March 13, both Facebook and Instagram experienced widespread outages around the world that lasted over 14 hours. The outage is believed to be the biggest interruption ever suffered by the social network. Issues with Facebook, Instagram and Facebook Messenger began around the world around noon eastern time and lasted well into the early hours of Thursday morning. The outage could force Facebook to issue refunds to its advertisers, but the big focus, for now, is determining what went wrong for the world’s largest social media platform.
Tom Thomas, an adjunct faculty member at Tulane University’s School of Professional Advancement, teaches courses in information technology management. Tom is an expert in IT, specifically routing design and solutions.
Thomas bio: https://sopa.tulane.edu/content/tom-thomas
“It is possible that a route leak could have caused/contributed to the outage event Facebook and its affiliated applications faced. When routes are ‘leaked’ erroneously they can have a large impact to the negative on functions and availability of services.”
“However, BGP (border gateway protocol) is a usually a static protocol, meaning that once it’s set up it rarely changes. More likely a cause of this nature would be due to a mistake in programmatic automation and various health checks that they perform to ensure optimal functionality for users. If I had to conjecture, I would suspect that the outage was likely due to a flaw in the code that controls such functions on a high-level business wise. Consider that the impact was across several Facebook-owned services, therefore, the likelihood of them trying to be efficient in their code and its centralization for many services is more likely the root cause.”
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