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Facebook apologizes for 6-hour shutdown

05 October 2021

By The SUN 

Facebook, WhatsApp, Messenger & Instagram were all out in HK overnight

Facebook and its related apps, including Instagram and WhatsApp, were out for about six hours Monday (early Tuesday in Hong Kong and the Philippines), jarring nerves and sparking fears among people who depend on the social media platform for business and as a vital means of communication.

Facebook’s apps, which included Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram and oculus, began displaying error messages around 11:40 pm Hong Kong time (11:40am Eastern time and 5:40pm GMT). Within minutes, they all disappeared on the internet.

Luckily for those who are in Hong Kong, the Philippines and other places with the same time zone, the outage hardly affected people’s lives as it happened overnight. Still, it took quite a number of people to realize that it was not their connection or their phones that were not working, but the ever-mighty Facebook and its family of apps.

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But for most of its 3.5 billion users across the globe, there was immediate concern as there was no immediate word on what could be happening, and how long it would take.

Ironically, Facebook had to resort to using its rival app, Twitter, to issue a series of apologies over the outage.

“We’re aware that some people are having trouble accessing our apps and products. We’re working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible, and we apologize for any inconvenience,” said one tweet.


Another said, “To the huge community of people and businesses around the world who depend on us: we're sorry. We’ve been working hard to restore access to our apps and services and are happy to report they are coming back online now. Thank you for bearing with us.”

Facebook said the crash was caused by changes to its internet infrastructure that coordinates the traffic between its data centers. This interrupted communications and eventually brought all its services to a halt.


A team from the company had to manually reset Facebook’s server computers from a data center in Santa Clara, California to enable the apps to start working again.

This was one of the messages that appeared shortly after FB crashed

Even so, the impact was far-reaching and severe in some places, especially the United States where it happened during busy work hours.

Some companies that depended on selling merchandise through Facebook and Instagram, in particular, were hard-hit. Consumers, on the other hand, complained of not being able to log in to their shopping websites or sign into their smart TVs and other internet-connected devices.

It also struck fear in the hearts of companies and groups that use the different platforms to communicate with friends and family, express or distribute political advocacies, or expand their businesses through advertising and gaining followers.

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The fiasco adds fuel to the controversy sparked by a former Facebook product manager who shared data showing that the company knew of many harms that its services were causing, including Instagram making teenage girls feel worse about themselves.

This is not the first time a technical glitz caused havoc to the tech giant. In 2019, a technical error affected Facebook’s sites for 24 hours, serving as a reminder that all it takes to bring down the world’s most powerful internet company is a slight hiccup.

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