Yesterday Facebook suffered from its worst problem in its history and for some hours it was difficult if not impossible to use it because of errors such as “Service Unavailable – DNS failure”. For a part of its many millions users it was panic: someone couldn’t tell the world what they would eat for their next meal and maybe they suffered from indigestion because of the stress, someone couldn’t upload their pictures they had just shot and couldn’t sleep because of it.
Someone thought about a terroristic attack, possibly istigated by a Facebook rival: actually after some hours later an official statement clarified that the outage was caused by a modification to the system configuration that wasn’t correctly recognized and triggered an automatic correction system that caused a damage instead of avoiding it because it started a chain reaction trying to restore the previous situation. Eventually Facebook system managers were forced to turn off the social network to patch the system and then at last they reopened it to its anxious users.
Whoever have worked in the informatics field knows that sometimes when you modify a system as careful as you can be something unexpected may happen and that can lead to consequences at levels considered impossible: the problem happened to Facebook made the news in all the world so even prestigious newspapers such as El País and the New York Times have an article about it and even TV news that seldom mention social networks unless they find a reason for an easy rant or there’s some spicy story reported about Facebook, even if just to say something trivial but clearly today media reckon that it’s an intersting story for their readers / audience.
Like it or not for good or bad today for some hundreds millions people Facebook is part of their life and when critics point out that thousands of them abandon it every day tipically they don’t tell us how many others register on it every day: on the other hand it’s also true that the reasons to be stressed should be others because how many people were really harmed by the Facebook outage?