How bad was that Facebook outage? Downdetector ranks it as worst service issue it’s ever tracked

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A screen grab showing the real-time status of Facebook service on Downdetector. (Downdetector.com)

Ookla, the Seattle-based company which counts Downdetector among its stable of properties, had its eye on Facebook all day Wednesday as the social media giant struggled with a severe service issue. The company’s outage, as it turns out, ranks as the largest ever recorded by Downdetector, which makes a point of tracking such data.

Downdetector started receiving a large volume of problem reports from users around the world starting at 8:15 a.m. PT. According to the company, the reports indicated that Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp weren’t working as expected, and lasted for nearly 12 hours before the volume of reports demonstrated a significant drop.

“By duration, this is by far the largest outage we have seen since the launch of Downdetector in 2012,” Tom Sanders, co-founder of Downdetector, said in a statement. “Our systems processed about 7.5 million problem reports from end users over the course of this incident. Never before have we such a large scale outage.”

In its own statement on Thursday, reported by CNBC, Facebook blamed “a server configuration change that triggered a cascading series of issues.” A spokesperson added, “As a result, many people had difficulty accessing our apps and services. We have resolved the issues, and our systems have been recovering over the last few hours. We are very sorry for the inconvenience and we appreciate everyone’s patience.”

The company tweeted at one point on Wednesday that the issue was not related to a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack.

The outage eclipses YouTube’s top ranking from Oct. 17, 2018, which generated about 2.7 million problem reports on Downdetector, followed by Snapchat on Nov. 6, 2017, with 1.8 million reports.

“As people become more reliant on digital services like Facebook, Instagram and Youtube, we are witnessing an ever growing number for problems during outages,” Sanders said. “The tolerance for downtime decreases and people are increasingly expecting services to operate flawlessly 365 days per year.”

Here is Downdetector’s ranking of the 10 largest outages in its history:

(Ookla Graphic)


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