• March 3, 2023

Facebook outage on October 4, 2023 what happened The Modern Geek

Facebook outage on October 4, 2023: what happened ?

On Monday, October 4, 2021, all services related to Facebook were inaccessible for several hours. The outage affected Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram, Oculus and Mapillary, among others. The incident also affected sites that allow users to log in with their Facebook accounts. Panicked, users searched for the cause of the outage on Twitter, Signal, Telegram, Discord..

Facebook outage: recap of the evening of October 4

The Facebook breakdown of October 2021 began at approximately 5:40 p.m. (3:40 p.m. GMT). The social network suddenly became unavailable. The phenomenon then to its various subsidiaries.

Caught off guard, users migrated en masse to competing platforms to figure out the situation. They thus discovered the seriousness of the technical problems of Facebook applications.

Given the symptoms, some users thought a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack. This impression was also reinforced by the typical effect of the error messages. Humans and applications often tend to multiply requests to get a more satisfactory answer.

These reactions inevitably lead to a exponential increase in traffic, like during a cyber attack.

In the meantime, the Facebook group spokesperson has confirmed the general breakdown and apologized on Twitter. He referred to a serious malfunction that disrupted the entire services of the social network. Nevertheless, the team was working as fast as possible to solve the incident and eliminate any bug.

The impacted sites finally restored their services around 12:45 a.m. (22:45 GMT).

After the return to normal, Facebook explained the cause of the failure in an official statement. It was a BGP update error that blocked access to DNS services. In other words, a reconfiguration of routers has prevented its data center to communicate with each other and with the Internet. This kind of incidents often go unnoticed.

However, the outage has grown in proportion to the billion users of social networks in the Facebook ecosystem.

DNS addresses and BGP protocols : késako ?

The Facebook outage of October 2021 is associated with DNS errors by most users around the world. Indeed, browsers often displayed this type of message. Other programs were just reporting theinability to connect to servers. However, this problem is only a symptom of an underlying and large-scale failure related to the BGP protocol .

To understand this giant failure, we have to go back to some basics of the Web like the Domain Name System. What is a DNS ? This abbreviation literally means "domain name system". This service allows to find IP addresses corresponding to Internet domain names. As a result, the IP will become unreachable, if the DNS address cannot be resolved by other terminals.

The operation depends however on the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP), or "border gateway protocol". This mechanism allows autonomous systems to exchange routing information on the Internet. Thus, the computers on the network will have access to the routes required to find and transmit the data packets from the servers.

Without a valid BGP, ISPs will not be able to detect routers and find the data centers they are looking for. Indeed, the latter have not communicated the necessary means to be identified and used. It is therefore as if the source network did not share with the rest of the Internet the map to reach it.

In this case, the service will become unavailable on the Web, like Facebook on October 14, 2021. Its servers were thus disconnected from the global network.

DNS addresses and BGP protocols: what are they?

Migrate to other instant messaging applications when Facebook & Co fail

Twitter was undoubtedly the first backup network at the time of the Facebook breakdown of October 2021. Instagram tweeted an apology on its official account as soon as the incident began, followed by the group itself. The photo-sharing site also confirmed that it was an internal IT incident through the hashtag "instagramdown". Twitter also took the opportunity to mock the competition by posting "hello literally everyone.

For its part, Telegram also published a tweet to draw the attention of users of instant messaging applications . However, this opportunistic act reinforces the status of the social network's rival Facebook. The young platform has nevertheless appeals to a new audience during this widespread outage. Thus, it has moved from 56th to 5th place in the top of free downloadable applications in the USA.

Less sarcastic than its host, Signal tweeted "welcome everyone" to mark the strong increase of its number of users. This messaging application is particularly popular for its security level. However, Telegram's encryption seems more convincing for institutions, especially in France.

This service is also different from other social media by allowing the sharing of large files.

Finally, Discord has continued its democratization during this serious computer failure affecting Facebook worldwide. As a reminder, the platform has already had a remarkable success during the Covid-19. It has thus gone from being a gamer app to a new trendy social network.

Since then, the service has continued to increase its number of monthly active users.