The devastating effects of the October Facebook shut-down


Kaitlyn Schwirzbin , Contributing Writer

On Oct. 4, Facebook, along with its sibling apps Instagram and Whatsapp, shut down for one of the longest periods in the history of their existence.  Users worldwide were unable to use the apps for a whopping six hours.  Although this amount of time may seem minuscule in the grand scheme of things, the shutdown was a major blow to the company, as millions of dollars worth of revenue were lost.  

Almost immediately after these platforms shut down, users began to complain on other forms of social media and experienced personal withdrawals as they were stripped of their ability to scroll through feeds.  Others struggled with the inability to contact important Facebook groups, such as sports teams and newspapers, making it difficult to keep themselves updated throughout the day.  

A large number of companies use these social media platforms as their main source of advertisement and sales.  As a result, many businesses lost engagement with customers and had decreased profits.  They also struggled with customer relations and service.  Despite its negative effects on smaller businesses, this shutdown did not severely affect Facebook Marketplace.  

So what caused this abrupt interruption in Facebook’s functioning?  Experts are saying that the problem was self-inflicted.  Facebook recently updated its routers, which coordinate network traffic.  This update caused a malfunction in the routers, resulting in a ripple effect of destruction throughout the company’s systems.  The reason this problem became so prolonged was due to the loss of internal systems necessary for the everyday operations needed in the app. 

“The company seriously needs to work on redesigning its technology to prevent these events from occurring again,” said junior Keira Gould.  

Tens of millions of dollars were lost by the company during this shutdown, making it one of Facebook’s largest setbacks since 2019, when the app was inaccessible for almost 24 hours.  This instance, just as the most recent Oct. 4 incident, led to the reconfiguration of the app’s entire server.  

Let’s break it down a little further.  Facebook shut down at about 11:40 a.m. Eastern Time and did not announce that its problems had been resolved until 6:30 p.m. Eastern Time.  In an update on the shutdown, Facebook informed us that the issues regarding the aforementioned routers were related to the “Border Gateway Protocol,” an important internet tool.  

“Border Gateway Protocol is pretty much a GPS or router for the internet.  The program tells the world where to route internet traffic and information,” said junior Geordan Sparber.  

Without this tool, it’s basically as if their online domains are nonexistent.  This does not prevent users from continuing to search for the platforms, however.  Millions of people worldwide searched the internet for after noticing the services malfunctioning, thereby increasing traffic which only added to the problem.  

With this outage came much criticism for the company.  Many users believed that the app did not malfunction, but was actually hacked.  

“Facebook could easily be lying about the malfunction to protect themselves.  There is definitely the possibility of breaches in privacy and information across the platform,” said junior Melanie Brady.  

In fact, a whistleblower is currently testifying to a Senate subcommittee about this exact matter.  The whistleblower believes that the company has been hacked, and is keeping it from the public.  The company has fired back with claims stating that there is “no evidence that user data was compromised as a result of this downtime.” 

“I’m just glad we have the platforms back.  In this day and age, social media has become necessary to our everyday lives,” said junior Alexandra Cascio.  

Though aspects of the Facebook shut-down remain uncertain, we can all take comfort in the fact that the platforms are up and running again.