EXPLAINER: What Really Happened to Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram?

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Although Facebook has apologised after it suffered a severe downtime for users around the world on Monday.

WhatsApp and Instagram – which are owned by the company – were also down.

A brief analysis conducted by flipmemes showed that in a nutshell, Facebook’s systems stopped talking to the wider internet, which in turn, resulted to the outage.

It was as if “someone had pulled the cables from their data centres all at once and disconnected them from the internet”, Cloudflare had disclosed.

Also, Facebook’s explanation was a little more technical

To understand by non tech experts.

Facebook said “configuration changes on the backbone routers that co-ordinate network traffic between our data centres caused issues that interrupted this communication”. This had a “cascading effect… bringing our services to a halt”

Note that internet breaks down into hundreds of thousands of networks.

Big firms like Facebook have their own larger networks – known as autonomous systems.

The back-end system that allows computers to connect with facebook, WhatsApp or Instagram Anytime you login to the app, used the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) – a kind of postal service for the internet.

Also, in order to direct people to the websites they want to visit, BGP looks at all of the available paths that data could travel and picks the best route.

What happened was that Facebook suddenly stopped providing the information the system needed to function.

By so doing, nobody’s computers had any way of connecting to Facebook or its other sites.

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