Monday in the office was long for Facebook, as the social media giant with 1.9 billion daily active users faced an outage for a good chunk of the day. For about six hours, Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Workplace were all down, affecting too many people.
But the internet has a weapon unlike any other to battle such a crisis by making hilarious reaction memes and jokes on the way. And as any smart competitor would, Twitter saw a perfect time to enjoy its rare spotlight by tweeting “hello literally everyone,” from its main account. It garnered 2.4 million “likes” in just four hours.
Meanwhile, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg took a financial hit. According to Bloomberg, Zuckerberg lost $6 billion in hours as Facebook plunged and dropped to No. 5 on the list of the world’s richest, below Gates.
So scroll down through the best of the outage reaction memes that will surely crack you up, because let me tell you, with Facebook or without, we’re all gonna be fine as long as we have that smashing sense of humor (outage-proof!).
The outage yesterday marked the longest stretch of downtime for Facebook since 2008. The fact that Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp all experienced significant issues for around six hours was a major event for many users. The director of analysis at network monitoring firm Kentik, Doug Madory commented to CNN on the incident: “I don't know If I've seen an outage like this before from a major internet firm," he said and added that when it comes to billions of users, “Facebook is the internet to them."
Only after 7 pm ET, around six hours after the platforms went offline, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg shared a note on his Facebook page: “Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger are coming back online now” and added “Sorry for the disruption today—I know how much you rely on our services to stay connected with the people you care about.”
“Facebook products being down for such a long time in the age of social media got everyone nervous and happy at the same time,” Lina Survila, a global tech PR and chief editor at Abstract Stylist, told Bored Panda, commenting on the global Facebook outage.
“First, everyone was able to gather in one place only, e.g., Twitter. So brands knew that most social media users would be hanging out there, or TikTok,” Lina said. As a result, many brands, businesses and companies took the outage as an opportunity rather than failure, Lina argues.
She added that McDonald's was a good example of this. “They knew where and when everyone would be gathering and just had to jump in with their occasional 'Hi, what can I get you?'. This shows the brand is alive and aware of the situation, making those profiles not only typical brand profiles, but showing people who are also locked out of their usual accounts,” Lina explained.
“The slow living, conscious and sustainable brands and companies also explored this as an opportunity to talk about the importance of social media breaks, mental health, and joking about people getting smarter because of this. In a similar way, productivity apps had the best opportunity to show people how much time they can save by not using social media.”
“Even traditional retail or coffee shops found the outage as a perfect moment to send people messages about their products and invite them to come over,” Lina added.
Moreover, from the communications perspective, this was perfect timing for witty jokes and memes that we have seen a lot of, Lina said. “Communication specialists were also made to rethink the necessity of owning your channels and subscriber lists,” as a result of the black-out screens of the internet giant.
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Santosh Janardhan, Facebook’s vice president of infrastructure, has released an update about the October 4th outage saying: “The underlying cause of this outage also impacted many of the internal tools and systems we use in our day-to-day operations, complicating our attempts to quickly diagnose and resolve the problem. Our engineering teams have learned that configuration changes on the backbone routers that coordinate network traffic between our data centers caused issues that interrupted this communication. This disruption to network traffic had a cascading effect on the way our data centers communicate, bringing our services to a halt.” There was no specification what kind of configuration changes were implemented.
The outage happened only a day after the whistleblower who leaked private internal research to both The Wall Street Journal and Congress revealed herself ahead of an interview with the CBS program “60 Minutes.” It turns out, it was a former product manager for civic misinformation, Frances Haugen.
First reported in a series of Journal stories, the documents revealed that the company’s executives understood the negative impacts of Instagram among younger users. It also showed how Facebook’s algorithm enabled the spread of misinformation, among other things.
Moreover, on her personal website, Haugen stated that during her time at the company, she “became increasingly alarmed by the choices the company makes prioritizing their own profits over public safety—putting people’s lives at risk. As a last resort and at great personal risk, Frances made the courageous act to blow the whistle on Facebook.”
Haugen told in an interview for 60 Minutes that she has seen “a bunch of social networks and it was substantially worse at Facebook than anything I’d seen before.”