Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp were all affected by global disruptions on Monday 4th October 2021. Something inside Facebook earlier last week caused the company to revoke key digital records that instruct computers and the other internet-enabled devices how to find these destinations online.
With 10.6 million problem reports globally, website monitoring organisation Downdetector claimed Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram apps went dark at around 5PM BST, in the most significant such failure it had ever seen. Some Facebook users began to restore limited access to the social media app at 22.45PM BST but WhatsApp’s connection issues persisted for some users.
How could this have caused this?
Facebook’s Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) records were updated by someone within the corporation. BGP is a method that allows Internet service providers all over the world to share information on which providers are in charge of routing Internet traffic to specific groups of IP addresses. In layman’s words, Facebook removed the map that directed the world’s computers to its numerous internet properties sometime yesterday morning. As a result, typing Facebook.com into a web browser causes the browser to produce an error page because it has no idea where to find Facebook.com.
To add insult to injury, this all comes on the back of CBS’s 60 Minutes airing an eagerly awaited interview with Frances Haugen, the Facebook whistleblower who recently revealed several internal Facebook reports showing that the firm was aware that its products were causing widespread harm. Haugen alleged that Facebook puts profits ahead of user welfare and was slow implementing more aggressive measures to combat abuse on its platform, such as misinformation and hateful speech. Allegations like this are likely to have far reaching implications on the Californian based company which is facing fierce opposition from both Democrats and Republicans in Washington DC.
Organisations Internal Communications went down
Organisations have zero control over systems like WhatsApp and therefore have no foresight over these types of support issues. This outage prevented senior executives from being able to communicate in real time, or clients being unable to reach their lawyers through their normal mode of instant messaging. For many it highlights the overdependence on these consumer systems by organisations and businesses across the globe.
Salt Communications is a technical organisation and we understand that complex systems can go down from time to time. However, it is worth pointing out that if the exact same issue ever happened in Salt we would be apologising for the loss of service to a portion, not all, of our SaaS customers – while all of our on-premise customers would see no loss of service given that they run their own systems.
But that’s not really the main point. This outage was a perfect demonstration of the vast global reach of one organisation and the interconnectivity between WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook. A consumer communications system where professionals frequently still share confidential information is closely intertwined with two of the largest marketing platforms in the world.
At Salt, we charge a premium to our trusted clients and go to long lengths to demonstrate that no information is stored, sold or processed. Confidential information should not be accessible to social media marketing platforms. We work with organisations of all sizes around the world at Salt Communications to enable them to have secure, confidential conversations wherever they are, at any time.
To discuss this article in greater detail with the team, or to sign up for a free trial of Salt Communications contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website at saltcommunications.com.
About Salt Communications:
Salt Communications is a multi-award winning cyber security company providing a fully enterprise-managed software solution giving absolute privacy in mobile communications. It is easy to deploy and uses multi-layered encryption techniques to meet the highest of security standards. Salt Communications offers ‘Peace of Mind’ for Organisations who value their privacy, by giving them complete control and secure communications, to protect their trusted relationships and stay safe. Salt is headquartered in Belfast, N. Ireland, for more information visit Salt Communications.