Yesterday, when it was early morning in the USA, Facebook started having problems. Suddenly it became impossible to update your status or write anything in groups and pages and even use the “Like” function. Soon, on other social networks, mainly Twitter, messages were posted showing panic but also irony and #facebookdown was very trendy among the hashtags. After a few hours the fault was fixed and the situation slowly went back to normal.
Not all of the social network created by Mark Zuckerberg (photo ©Guillaume Paumier) gave problems: for example, it was still possible to send private messages and I noticed that it was possible to publish something on your timeline from external websites that have connections to Facebook such as Klout. However, a normal use of the social network was clearly impossible.
After everything got back to normal, a Facebook spokesman told that there was a problem during a network maintenance. That prevented some users to post on Facebook for a short time but this seems like an attempt to make the problem look less bad that it actually was. In fact, the blackout seems to have been global and it lasted nearly four hours, a really long time in the online world that never stops.
No technical details of the problem were provided so it’s difficult to say if they could avoid it. It’s not the first time Facebook has serious problems and three years ago a modification to the system configuration that wasn’t correctly recognized caused similar results and panic among users.
In the end no one died and perhaps many users had the time to do something more productive. Others went on Twitter or Google+ to see whether the problem was them or more global, to complain or to write ironic remarks. Others may have left their computer to explore that strange place called the material world. 😉
Despite competition, Facebook remains the most popular social network in the world so any problem it experiences has consequences on the activities of many millions of people. Exactly because the problems are inevitable we should be able to do without it for a few hours without much drama.