October 4, 2021 will be marked as one of the darkest days in Facebook’s history. After 11:30 am ET / 8:30 am PT, none of Mark Zuckerberg’s company social media was operational. “Is Facebook down?” Was one of the first questions that began to circulate on other platforms.
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As is often the case, Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram users turned to sites like Twitter looking for answers or sharing memes. However, as the minutes passed, it began to be evident that it was a bigger problem. Only six hours later began the gradual restoration of services.
Was October 2021 the biggest drop in Facebook history? What have been the longest? In this list, we review the most curious and prolonged blackouts that have affected the platform since its launch in 2004.
The biggest drop in the history of the social media giant dates back to March 13, 2019, both in terms of duration and magnitude. A technical error affected all the company’s services, including Facebook, Instagram, the messaging platforms WhatsApp and Messenger, as well as the owners of Oculus virtual reality glasses.
According to the company, a “change in the configuration of a server” left many users without access to the different platforms, while other users were limited in their functions. “We have resolved the issues and our systems are recovering,” the company wrote, dismissing the incident just 24 hours after the first failures were reported.
On June 19, 2014, the platform was offline for about 31 minutes, both in its web version and on its mobile platforms. The incident was repeated less than two months later, on August 1, affecting even other services that used its system to log in, such as Skype.
One of the curiosities is that multiple users they contacted 911, the emergency number in the United States. Sergeant Burton Brink even posted a tweet asking that they stop calling them. “Facebook is not a matter of law enforcement (…) We do not know when it will return,” he wrote.
#Facebook is not a Law Enforcement issue, please don’t call us about it being down, we don’t know when FB will be back up!
& mdash; Burton Brink for California (@LASDBrink) August 1, 2014
Two hours and 30 minutes lasted the blackout that affected Facebook on September 24, 2010, when the platform already added some 500 million registered accounts. When entering the platform, users only saw the message “Network Error (dns_server_failure)”.
According to the company, it was a software failure that had a condition that got out of control, affecting the main database of Facebook’s worldwide network. The most striking thing is that the fastest way to solve the problem was to restart the servers.
On June 25, 2008, Facebook suffered a blackout that lasted almost a day and prevented its users from accessing their profiles. Although it was not a general failure, it has been one of the longest in history.
Of course, the difference is that at that time neither Instagram nor WhatsApp existed and Facebook only had about 125 million users, 28 times less than in 2021. “Some of our users had difficulties accessing Facebook. (…) We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused, ”a spokesperson for the site said at the time.
At just three years old, Facebook’s attitude to disruption was different than it is now. On July 31, 2007, the site was intentionally taken offline by its engineers. “This morning, we temporarily removed the Facebook site to correct an error that we identified,” said a company spokesman, in an unlikely scenario for today. What did the users do? What they always do: they turned to the then ubiquitous MySpace and a newcomer Twitter.