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Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp outage; what we can learn

By October 11, 2021June 9th, 2022No Comments

Technology outages are not uncommon, but last week’s Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp and Oculus outages brought the internet to a standstill, with billions of people being unable to access their favorite social media platforms.

The domino effect of the outages was also felt across the internet, with many websites using services such as Facebook to sign in to their web applications. This resulted in people being unable to log into their shopping websites, other social media platforms and web applications they use on a day-to-day basis.

What caused the outage?

Facebook explained that the massive outage that took down Facebook and its associated web applications such as Instagram, Messenger, WhatsApp, Oculus and its internal network was as a result of routine maintenance.

According to the company, the outage happened after a command was issued during maintenance. The command, which Facebook refused to explain further, is believed to have triggered the shutdown of the platform’s infrastructure, resulting in a global outage of their services.

The BGP (Border Gateway Protocol) and Domain Name System (DNS) routing information also disappeared, resulting in users being unable to access and its services domain.

After six hours of hard work by Facebook engineers, the platform’s services started coming back online.

Facebook Response

Facebook started releasing information about the outage immediately after it got wind of the outage. In a statement released to media outlets during the outage, they acknowledged the outage and expressed regret for the billions of people and businesses around the world that had been impacted by the outage.

The statement also apologized for the inconvenience caused by the outage and promised to resolve the problem as soon as possible.

Impact of the outage

The Facebook outage was the best highlight of how businesses are over-reliant on the internet for their data to day operations.

Today, Facebook and its affiliates serve almost 3 billion users worldwide, with many businesses, healthcare providers and veterinary practices using the services to connect with their clients and offer services through the internet.

To many of its 2.8 billion users, the impact was felt on their businesses and communications, where they were disconnected with services they use to connect, contact and update clients. It also highlighted the platform’s dominant position on the modern communication market and how over-reliance on such services can have damaging results in unprecedented cases such as the recent outage, causing huge personal and financial losses.

There was also a huge domino effect for other applications that rely on Facebook and its affiliates to log users in their platforms. This resulted in many users being unable to access third-party applications that rely on Facebook, disrupting industries with no affiliation to Facebook.

Impact on Veterinary practices

Veterinary practices around the world were also affected by the Facebook outage. The impact of social media platforms has been felt across the veterinary practice industry in the past few years, and the recent outage caught many practices unaware.

Veterinary practices reliant on third-party Facebook APIs on their day-to-day operations also came to a standstill and could not operate due to the outages. This included services such as logging clients into platforms using Facebook or Instagram.

Facebook advertisements were also affected during the few hours that the platform was offline, and therefore, veterinary practices could not reach their target audience with their ads. They were also unable to reach their clients or respond to their clients’ queries. The outage also disrupted communications between veterinary practices and their clients over the social media platform.

Lesson from the Facebook outage

The Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp outages highlighted how fragile the internet infrastructure is and how easily your veterinary practice services can be taken offline by both external and internal factors.

In Facebook’s case, the outage was caused by maintenance staff, who fed the computer systems a command that ended up taking the servers of the company offline. Although Facebook indicated that there were no ill motives to the action and was able to correct the problem within hours, the mistake is a wake-up call to veterinary practices networked by IT infrastructure to be more careful with their methods, as a simple mistake can lead to outage of their services.

The biggest lesson on the Facebook outage, however, is their response to the outage. They were able to offer a quick response and updated their users on every step they took to rectify the problem. They were also quick to inform their clients of the reasons behind the outage, and once they corrected the problems, they provided more information about the outage, including why it happened and the steps they had taken to ensure that it does not happen again in the future.

Veterinary practices should have a well-laid-out response strategy in case they are compromised, and they should update their clients and contact cybersecurity experts to help them solve the problem. They should also keep their clients in the loop about any compromise and work as fast as possible to restore services.

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