• December 21, 2022

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

Facebook outage of October 4, 2023: what happened ?

Monday, October 4, 2023, 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 connect with their Facebook accounts. Panicked, users looked for the cause of the outage on Twitter, Signal, Telegram, Discord..

Facebook outage: recap of the evening of October 4

The Facebook outage of October 2021 started around 5:40 pm (3:40 pm GMT). The social network suddenly became unavailable. The phenomenon then extended to its various subsidiaries.

Caught off guard, users massively migrated to competing platforms to understand the situation. They discovered the seriousness of the technical problems of Facebook applications.

Considering the symptoms, some users thought that the problem was due to a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack. This impression was also reinforced by the typical effect of 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 a cyber attack.

In the meantime, the spokesperson of the Facebook group has confirmed the general outage and apologized on Twitter. He mentioned a serious malfunction that disrupted all the services of the social network. Nevertheless, the team worked as quickly as possible to resolve the incident and eliminate any bug.

The impacted sites finally restored their services around 12:45 am (10:45 pm GMT).

After the return to normal, Facebook explained the origin of the failure in an official release. It was a BGP update error that blocked access to DNS services. In other words, a reconfiguration of routers prevented its data center to communicate between them and with Internet. This type of incident often goes unnoticed.

However, the outage was proportional to the billion users of social networks in the Facebook ecosystem.

DNS addresses and BGP protocols: what are they? ?

The Facebook failure of October 2023 is associated with DNS errors by most users around the world. Indeed, browsers often display this type of message. Other programs just reported theinability to connect to servers. However, this problem is only a symptom of an underlying, 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 endpoints.

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

Without a valid BGP, ISPs won't be able to detect routers and find desired data centers. Indeed, the latter have not communicated the necessary means to be identified and used. So it's as if the source network didn't 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 during the Facebook outage 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 this was an internal computer 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 rival of the social network 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 US.

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

This service also stands out from other social media by allowing large files to be shared.

Finally, Discord continued its democratization during this serious computer failure affecting Facebook worldwide. As a reminder, the platform has already been remarkably successful during the Covid-19 pandemic. It thus went from being an app for gamers to a new trendy social network.

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