On October 4, 2021, around 11:40 a.m. ET, over 3.5 billion Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, WhatsApp, and Oculus users received an error message when trying to access their accounts.
To make matters worse, Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp were then inaccessible for an agonizingly long 6 hours.
What’s more, the outage affected more than just chat rooms. Namely, it disabled other apps and services connected to Facebook as well, such as shopping websites, online games, smart TVs, etc.
To everyone’s disbelief, Facebook later announced that the outage was caused by “faulty configuration changes on the backbone routers.” In addition to that, the company claims there is no evidence that the outage was caused by a cyberattack and that user data was not compromised.
According to the statistical data on identity theft, such attacks are fairly common — just last year, in the US, over 1.4 million identity theft complaints were filed.
However, this wasn’t the first time Facebook experienced such an outage. A similar thing happened to the company back in 2019, when the site was down for 24 hours due to a technical error.
Interestingly, the outage happened only a few days after a former Facebook employee, Frances Haugen, decided to testify against the company’s practices and lack of transparency associated with hateful content.
Merely a coincidence?
Yes, according to Facebook officials.
Unfortunately, due to the outage, many small business owners lost thousands in sales since they mostly run their businesses through Facebook.
Interestingly, Facebook employees also had trouble making calls and receiving emails from people outside the company. And the company’s internal communications platform, Workplace, was also down, so many were unable to work.
Overall, the outage cost Facebook about $164,000 per minute in revenue. Moreover, its stock was down nearly 5% on Monday, and Mark Zuckerberg lost roughly $6 billion as a result.