Everyone scrambled to Twitter last night when Facebook, Whatsapp and Instagram went black. The sudden outage on both the browser and app lasted up to seven hours and caused chaos to internet users.
Although all of the company’s social networks are back online, that didn’t stop Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg from losing more than $6 billion (roughly RM25 billion) in a matter of hours due to the blackout. According to Bloomberg, Facebook stocks were down nearly 5% today (5 Oct) and 15% down compared to mid-September.
As expected, these numbers also affected Zuckerberg’s worth, which ended the day at $121.6 billion (roughly RM500 billion). He has also has slipped to fifth place in the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a ranking of the 500 richest people in the world.
But what really happened?
While the exact reasons that caused the outage remain unclear, it seems that Facebook was affected by a DNS problem that “wiped” the paths to Facebook domains. Even the company’s internal network was affected, which made the outage even longer and more complicated.
“Sincere apologies to everyone impacted by outages of Facebook-powered services right now. We are experiencing networking issues and teams are working as fast as possible to debug and restore as fast as possible,” Facebook said at the time.
Coincidentally, many social media users have pointed out that the outage come shortly after a whistleblower came forward and claimed to CBS News that the company could do more to protect against hate speech and misinformation but prioritises profits over its users.
In an interview with 60 Minutes, Frances Haugen revealed herself to be the whistleblower who provided key internal company documents to the Wall Street Journal. The Journal has used the information in a series of recent reports titled “The Facebook Files“.
Haugen is a former product manager on Facebook’s civic misinformation division who left the company in May and made copies of numerous internal files before departing the company. Haugen accused Facebook of prioritising its “own profits over public safety — putting people’s lives at risk”.
Since then, Facebook has put out a statement defending itself.
“We’ve invested heavily in people and technology to keep our platform safe, and have made fighting misinformation and providing authoritative information a priority. If any research had identified an exact solution to these complex challenges, the tech industry, governments, and society would have solved them a long time ago,” it said in a statement.