The ‘routine test’
November has been a rough month for Facebook. It’s been just over a week since a ‘routine test’ that took the social networking site offline for many people. The most recent outage happened last Tuesday for millions of users, with the home page showing only a ‘service unavailable’ message.
Instagram users also found that the web interface wouldn’t load, although the app appeared to be working for the majority of users. Whilst these outages are rare, they can have an impact on users. Facebook is a key form of communication for many businesses and for personal use around the world.
Users turned to Twitter to vent about Tuesday’s outage using the hashtags #FacebookDown and #InstagramDown, which quickly became trending topics. It forced Facebook themselves to take to Twitter to alert users that the problem was being looked into, and the site would be back to normal as soon as possible.
Since the outage, Facebook have reached out and blamed the site’s downtime on a ‘server configuration causing intermittent problems across all apps globally’. Obviously, any downtime for a business is negative, but for a company of this size it has a detrimental effect on reputation and confidence of users.
Facebook could have certainly looked into alerting users in advance of any planned maintenance, as well as scheduling work to take place in off-peak times in each time zone. Facebook famously host their own infrastructure too, meaning that they are responsible for the consequences of the downtime.
The outage only adds to the list of problems for Facebook currently, whilst recently struggling with issues of data handling and Russian trolls.
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