October 06, 2021

I admit, I do not have much patience with my computer or devices when they are slow.  When I was preparing to post my blog on Monday, I found that I was unable to access my Facebook page.  Like most platforms there have been problems in the past.  I also know there have been times when something has changed on my devices that affect availability.  No problem.  I switched to another browser and got the same response.  This was an unhappy face and, “This site can’t be reached.”  I then ran diagnostics and it told me, “Your DSN Server might be unavailable.”  Ya think?  When I pointed this out to Melissa, she checked her Facebook account, and it was working (we later found out she was already logged on and this was only showing content already downloaded).  I went online and queried “Facebook problems” and found there was a global problem with the site.  That did not improve my patience.

While I was online, I did further research on the problem and found that Facebook Inc. services experienced widespread outages for six hours Monday morning, adding to the social network’s miserable day.  Facebook FB shares dropped as much as 6% to an intraday low of $323, which was their worst single day decline since a 6.3% fall logged on Oct. 30, 2020.  The decline followed a national broadcast of a whistleblower’s allegations that the social media network placed profits before safety.  Late Sunday, ViacomCBS Inc.’s news program “60 Minutes” interviewed former Facebook data scientist Frances Haugen, who alleges that the social-media giant has been deceiving investors about how it has been dealing with hate speech and misinformation on its platform.  Haugen had continued to work with the media giant’s assurance the issues would be resolved.  She finally lost patience and lodged the complaint.  Added to that was the widespread outage of Facebook services, including Instagram and WhatsApp.  A very bad day.

Considering the problems, and the national attention received by Sunday’s 60 Minutes focus, I jokingly wondered whether Facebook had decided to force the world to see what it was like to not be able to use these three platforms.  While I quickly dismissed this as conspiracy theory, apparently, I was not the only one who wondered.  When I checked for the reason for the outage, I found Facebook was having global problems, to which one responder wrote, “Maybe its cuz of that Facebook whistle-blower on 60 min last night…”  Another commented, “60 Minutes might just might have brought FB to it’s knees.”  Realizing I had no more patience, I was forced to find other ways to pass the afternoon (read a book?).

Thoughts:  Late Monday Facebook said the cause of the failure was changes to its underlying internet infrastructure that coordinates the traffic between its data centers.  Facebook eventually restored service after a team got access to its server computers at a data center in Santa Clara, California and were able to reset them.  The company apologized for the outage on Twitter (a non-Facebook platform).  While checking a status dashboard Facebook uses to communicate its availability to developers, I found this statement.  “We’ll be back soon!  Sorry for the inconvenience but we’re performing some maintenance at the moment.  We’ll be back online shortly!”.  It was signed, “The ‘Is The Service Down’ Team”.  I found creating an “Is the Service Down” team telling and ironic.  Apparently, there are others who suffer from my same lack of patience.  Perhaps the machine apocalypse is closer than I thought.  Follow the science.  Do the work.  Change is coming and it starts with you.

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