Facebook has been down for more than five hours and discussions from top-level internet experts seem to point towards a fitting culprit as the cause of the hardest-felt social media outage in history.
Why is Facebook down?
Steven Vaughn-Nichols, a veteran network admin and ZDNet author, suggests, in a recently published explainer, that the reason why Facebook and all of its products, including WhatsApp, Instagram, and Messenger, are down is due to a mistaken configuration change in the social media giant’s Domain Name Server — or DNS.
“This time Domain Name Server (DNS) appears to be the symptom of the root cause of the Facebook global failure. The true cause is that there are no working Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) routes into Facebook’s sites,” he wrote.
A BGP, according to CloudFlare, is “the routing protocol for the Internet.” A perfect allegory to understanding the function of BGP is considering how the post works. To provide an efficient service, the post office will pick the most efficient routes to delivering a package. A BGP does the exact same, except, the protocol “picks the most efficient routes for delivering Internet traffic.”
In Facebook’s case, no BGP announcements are reaching the social media giant’s servers. This, Microsoft’s Head of Security Operations Dane Knecht claims, means that Facebook “deplatformed themselves from their own platform.”
At this time, there are no clear indications on when Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram will return to service. It could be hours, or days, since the social media giant’s technical team has to manually access its servers which are located in ‘smart’ buildings which are currently disabled due to the network failure.
A more daunting supposition, lodged by a renowned music business firm The Academy, is that missing routing information could be the end of Facebook as we know it.
So, someone deleted large sections of the routing….that doesn't mean Facebook is just down, from the looks of it….that means Facebook is GONE. pic.twitter.com/OCZWPD2okw— The Academy (@BenjaminEnfield) October 4, 2021
Was this an attack on Mark Zuckerberg?
Facebook has yet to issue a formal statement on the cause of the outage. The last outage experienced by Zuckerberg’s brainchild was in 2008. However, it was not as bad as Monday’s black out.
In fact, recent financial reports indicate the Top 10 richest man in the world fell to seventh place after losing an estimated $7 billion from his net worth due to a gob-smacking stock market nosedive.
A question that lingers on the minds of social media ‘sherlocks’ is whether this seismic event was random, or premeditated.
It’s hard to shake off the coincidence of this epic downfall when on Sunday, Facebook’s former-employee-turned-whistleblower Frances Haugen appeared on CBS’ 60 Minutes tell-all where she made startling claims about the social media giant.
Haugen, a former product manager from Facebook’s misinformation department, is scheduled to appear before a Senate subcommittee on Tuesday, to share her account and knowledge of the app’s research into Instagram’s effect on the mental health of young people.
In the 60 Minutes interview, the 37-year-old accused her former employer of prioritising profits over the safety of its billion-plus users. The former product manager went as far as accusing Zuckerberg’s company of amplifying the Capitol Hill riots in January 2021.
“The version of Facebook that exists today is tearing our societies apart and causing ethnic violence around the world,” she said.
The coincidence between the development of Haugen’s brave charge towards the social media giant and the outage that’s ruptured the internet is hard to ignore. However, according to a Reddit user who claims to be a Facebook employee, this is purely a DNS issue caused by a configuration change to BGP.
The user, in a post that has since been deleted, along with their Reddit account (strange), wrote: