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Why Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram were down

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Facebook vice president of infrastructure indicated that configuration changes on the backbone routers that co-ordinate network traffic between data centres caused issues that interrupted this communication.

File image. Picture: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

 

THE FACEBOOK engineering team has communicated the reasons behind the major outage that affected billions. Facebook vice president of infrastructure indicated that “configuration changes on the backbone routers that co-ordinate network traffic between our data centres caused issues that interrupted this communication. This disruption to network traffic had a cascading effect on the way our data centres communicate, bringing our services to a halt.”

Other media reports have also indicated that the incident had to do with BGP, or border gateway protocol. In simple terms BGP is one of the systems that the internet uses to get your traffic to where it needs to go as quickly as possible.

As there are tons of different internet service providers, backbone routers, and servers responsible for your data making it to entities like Facebook, there’s a ton of different routes your packets could end up taking. BGP’s job is to show them the way and make sure it’s the best route. It can also be understood as the protocol that makes the internet work.

The head of infrastructure at Facebook also apologised for the outage. In a blog post the executive member at Facebook went to say “no evidence that user data was compromised as a result of this downtime.” Many who were concerned about the outage will be relieved to know that their data was not compromised by the outage.

Although this has been explained as the BGP issue, more information may be communicated as new details become available about the root cause of this outage.

 

 

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