back to article Facebook blames 'server config change' for 14-hour outage. Someone run that through the universal liar translator

Facebook has said a "server configuration change" was to blame for a 14-hour outage of its services, which took down the Facebook social media service, its Messenger and WhatsApp apps, Instagram, and Oculus. "Yesterday, as a result of a server configuration change, many people had trouble accessing our apps and services. We've …

  1. fidodogbreath Silver badge

    Facebook was down?

    I hadn't noticed.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Facebook was down?

      I did. About a dozen people who know I "know something about computers" called me to ask if I could do anything about it. A couple actually demanded that I fix it! NONE of the callers are now, or ever had been, paying clients ... Are facebook users really that stupid as a group?

      Don't bother answering, that was a rhetorical question.

      1. ScottK

        Re: Facebook was down?

        Stupid enough that the local plod had to issue a statement asking people to stop ringing 000 (999 equivalent in Oz) to report Facebook being down.

      2. Allan George Dyer Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: Facebook was down?

        @jake - "A couple actually demanded that I fix it!"

        Did you give them a quote? Did they pay?

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Facebook was down?

          A quote? No ... I simply told 'em the same thing I used to tell AOLers: "I'm sorry, but I don't work on toys".

        2. Shady
          Mushroom

          Re: Facebook was down?

          "Did you give them a quote?"

          Such as "f*** off, you clueless cretin" ?

        3. katrinab Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: Facebook was down?

          Quote them £500 and offer a 24 hour turnaround time.

      3. macjules Silver badge
        Happy

        Flesh quota exceeded

        A friend in Melbourne emailed me to tell me how he dealt with the FB morons earlier:

        We got a call from one of our media clients to say that they could not access the Facebook pages that they had built for clients and asking us to sort this out. Despite our assurances that Facebook was down they refused to accept that as a reason and decided that it must be our fault.

        After several exchanges of emails we telephoned them to ask how many photos had been uploaded for their client pages, prompting them to check with their devs. Next question we asked was, "how many of these images have partially clad or semi-naked people in them?". Upon their answering "quite a few" we informed them that Facebook might not actually be down but that they might have exceeded the aggregate quota that Facebook permits for naked flesh on images. We advised them to wait about 12 hours and try again then.

        I am definitely saving this one up for future use.

        1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

          Re: Flesh quota exceeded

          Does that quota exist? Just mildly curious.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        A couple actually demanded that I fix it!

        I'd have said, sure, I'll fix it. It'll take around two days and the cost will be $500 payable up-front.

        1. Shooter

          Re: A couple actually demanded that I fix it!

          I think you left at least one zero off that figure...

      5. Andy 97

        Re: Facebook was down?

        You'd think a company with the sizeable cash resources of FB would have a better PR firm/gnomes engaged...

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Facebook was down?

          If they don't want to say anything what could the PR do better than keeping schtum? Churning out some longer meaningless garbage just gives us more to point and laugh at.

          1. Gnoitall
            Devil

            Re: Facebook was down?

            If Facebook were a little more honest (or, more realistically, a little more arrogant), they'd borrow a line from Lily Tomlin's "Ernestine" character: "We're Facebook. We don't care. We don't have to."

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Facebook was down?

          Who needs PR firms when you have Marky Mark - ask Tesla how that is working out with Elon.

      6. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Facebook was down?

        I noted it was down (social media "director" for a computer shop) - was amazed that no one called, usually we make money when people refuse to hear that there is nothing wrong with their computer rather than believe there is something wrong with the internet; I would hate to think that our customers are getting more savvy.

        And in our defense, most of the computers that end up coming in are f'd up in one major way or another - I D - 1 0 - T problems tend to run that way.

    2. SteveGS

      Re: Facebook was down?

      Who gives a zuck?

    3. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Facebook was down?

      Best. Observation. Evar.

      (just how insignificant FaceBitch REALLY is, because life goes on just fine without it working)

  2. Andy Non

    Not sure the comparison is valid

    of Facebook to a phone operator. If someone pays for a service that has gone down they can expect an explanation and possibly some financial redress. However Facebook is free to use. They don't promise a percentage uptime or other guarantees of service.

    I'm no fan of Facebook, but moaning about a free "service" being down is a bit much? They could pull the plug completely if they wanted with no obligation to the users.

    1. JimboSmith Silver badge

      Re: Not sure the comparison is valid

      My favourite comment over the outage was from two teenagers and an old aged pensioner on the bus. The two youngsters were getting annoyed that their friend couldn't get hold of them as Facebook and messenger weren't working. The OAP says "Sorry to but in but have you tried phoning them?" The girls had apparently not considered this as "Duh who uses the phone anymore?"

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Not sure the comparison is valid

        Clearly 14 hours wasn't a long enough outage for the lesson to sink in.

      2. zuckzuckgo

        Re: "Duh who uses the phone anymore?"

        They probably don't even know how. In any case I am sure Facebook will honour their money back guarantee.

    2. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Not sure the comparison is valid

      FWIW WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger do voice and video calls. The only people who phone me via the traditional phone system are PR people, restaurants confirming bookings, and robo-callers. Everyone else uses WhatsApp (or Signal) voice and messages.

      Edit: I don't mind downvotes, people are free to vote how they want, but I get the feeling it was something I said. Anyone want to help me out and explain? Cheers.

      C.

      1. JimboSmith Silver badge

        Re: Not sure the comparison is valid

        Just had a spam call from a robo-caller asking me if I wanted to borrow some money. I do use the phone for calls because not everyone I know uses WhatsApp or that I want them to know I do. I keep WhatsApp on a separate number to do this.

      2. cyberdemon
        Devil

        re: downvotes

        The downvotes are from people who know full well that Facebook and Whatsapp have voice calling, but still insist on using traditional calls because they are a) more reliable and b) aren't being slurped by Facebook to build a dataset for the next robo-caller AI.

        We prefer that only GCHQ gets to spy on us, with their low-tech wire-tapping systems that they installed at Vodafone et al a decade or three ago, which only records people they are already interested in, rather than -everyone-.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: re: downvotes

          FWIW, I didn't know that they allowed voice calls. Seems daft to me ... I have a dedicated device to make a telephone call. It's called a telephone (imagine that!). Why on earth would I want to add a rather large level of additional complexity to something that is so simple and straightforward?

          (I haven't downvoted anybody in this thread.)

          1. Dan 55 Silver badge

            Re: re: downvotes

            WhatsApp (/Signal/Telegram) calls are often used by people with a lot of international contacts.

            1. Ripper38
              Coffee/keyboard

              Re: re: downvotes

              "WhatsApp (/Signal/Telegram) calls are often used by people with a lot of international contacts"

              Wholeheartedly second that! As wives are want to do mine talks a lot with her daughter, her mum too. Now as the inlaws all live in countries that once enjoyed Uncle Joe's benevolence its more than possible the some slurping is going on but as far as I'm concerned so be it... the wife's meat pie and cake receipes can be found on Pinterest anyway...the days of paying "Ouch that hurt" telephone bills is a fading memory.

              1. Chris G Silver badge

                Re: re: downvotes

                @ripper. Same here, calls to Moscow and other staions East are a daily occurrence, plus I live in Spain and have friends in the UK as well as a scattering around the five continents

                My preference though is Telegram, Mark's Malware can take a jump.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: re: downvotes

            The PSTN is hardly a simply system. It is merely a familiar system - more familiar to certain demographics than others. And in the larger scheme, it is redundant. Now, carrier pigeons provide a unique alternative.

            1. ridley

              Re: re: downvotes

              I miss the click and whurr of the old Stowger exchanges.

              1. Stevie Silver badge

                Re: re: downvotes

                I miss being able to backdial.

                Ask yer grandad.

        2. Mongrel

          Re: re: downvotes

          Either that or your majority use of apps rather than the phone gets you labelled as a Millenial, therefore you're the undoing of society or something...

        3. Someone Else Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          @diodesign WRT to Cyberdemon -- re: downvotes

          What.

          He.

          Said.

        4. Mage Silver badge

          Re: re: downvotes

          c) Get more minutes on real voice calls than using Data Allowance.

          d) Real voice calls will work with much less signal or when data is unreliable

          I have viber, but I've only ever used it on WiFi with the phone, and only only for text + photos. Even on laptop only text and photos.

      3. Old Shoes

        Re: Not sure the comparison is valid

        Facebook is getting to the point where it is critical infrastructure as an identity provider and phone company.

        Because of the network effect it really depends on your friends, but there are clusters of my friends who only communicate or do business via WhatsApp and others who only know how to contact each other on Facebook. And that includes not just short text messages but also voice calls, video calls, voice messages, photographs, etc.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Not sure the comparison is valid

          Facebook is getting to the point where it is critical infrastructure as an identity provider and phone company.

          Only for people who have no problem with being spied on, or who do not have a legal obligation to protect information. We have an explicit ban on the use of asocial media other than via our marketing department, and they are *very* sparse with what they put online as it's not our channel to reach clients (again, for reasons of privacy).

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Not sure the comparison is valid

            obviously a person who trusts cell and land line communications companies to keep the NSA, FBI, et al away from their convos.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Not sure the comparison is valid

              .. or who uses proper secure software for their comms.

              That said, gov agencies are at least subject to *some* control (for varying values of "some"), whereas the likes of Google and Facebook fight like devils in holy water to prevent any legal impact on their God given right to milk the entire planet for profit, irrespective of the consequences for their users victims.

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Not sure the comparison is valid

          "critical infrastructure as an identity provider"

          That only shows how bad things have got.

        3. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: Not sure the comparison is valid

          Because of the network effect it really depends on your friends

          Yes, and your inclination to stay in communication with them.

          I'd go back to a feature phone, but my relatives insist on SMS for most remote communication, and texting with a phone keypad was horrible. So it's a smartphone and SMS for me.

          I never post to Facebook, but because so many relatives and friends use it to post news about their lives, I do skim through it once a day or so, typically when I'm waiting for something that's not likely to take long enough to open a book.

          My wife and many other people I know use Facebook Messenger, but I flat-out refuse on that point. I have the preinstalled Facebook app disabled (insofar as it can be without flashing a clean OS). For reading FB, I use their mobile website from my phone, with various protections in place. Still far from ideal, but as I rarely use the phone browser for anything else, there's a limit to how much spying they can do that way.

          And, personally, I still use conventional voice service. Fortunately I don't have anyone who wants to use OTP apps for voice. I'd probably refuse anyway, except perhaps for Signal or some other Whisper-based client. I still use POTS, too. In fact, we have a line-powered landline phone at the Stately Manor, which has been tremendously useful during extended power outages.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not sure the comparison is valid

        It's funny how people seem to live in different worlds these days. I've never sent or received a call on WhatsApp before and don't know anyone who does (don't use Messenger and didn't know it could do it). I don't understand why anyone would use their data plan for making voice calls anyway, seems like a strange carry on.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Not sure the comparison is valid

          Billing plans vary. But do you use VoLTE? How about T-Mobile wifi calling? Would you know it if you did?

        2. Big_Baldy_Bloke

          Re: Not sure the comparison is valid

          I occasionally use WhatsApp or Messenger for voice calls via WiFi when there is no mobile signal or where mobile voice and data is expensive (eg, on a recent holiday in Cabo Verde).

          I also sometimes use them for voice calls when I want the phone to ring for a long time at the other end without diverting to voicemail (eg, trying to rouse my son who is a student)

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Not sure the comparison is valid

            "trying to rouse my son who is a student"

            I admire your willingness to tackle the impossible.

            1. Big_Baldy_Bloke

              Re: Not sure the comparison is valid

              I use this tactic in forlorn hope, rather than with any great expectation.

        3. NeilA

          Re: Not sure the comparison is valid

          I use it most when in my local Sainsbury's that for some unknown reason has no phone signal once you are more than 2 metres inside the place. It does though offer free store wifi, so when I inevitably forget what it was the wife asked me to get I call via whatapp instead.

      5. Kubla Cant Silver badge

        Re: Not sure the comparison is valid

        There's a perfectly good reason for not using WhatsApp to make calls.

        Last time I checked, most contracts have huge or unlimited allowance for phone calls and text messages, so using either is likely to be free. Many contracts have a fairly modest data allowance, and that's likely to be slurped by things like streaming media and transmission of images. WhatsApp activity comes out of the data allowance, so unless your phone has a WiFi connection it could end up costing you money.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Not sure the comparison is valid

          Typically true in my neck of the woods. Tangentially, I think the wifi calling data volume used by my provider should be credited to my monthly 4G data allowance. Fair is fair. I'm holding my breath.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Not sure the comparison is valid

          Last time I checked, most contracts have huge or unlimited allowance for phone calls and text messages, so using either is likely to be free. Many contracts have a fairly modest data allowance, and that's likely to be slurped by things like streaming media and transmission of images

          As it so happens, Vodafone has just changed the packages in my neck of the wood so they're like the ones I had in Switzerland: unlimited Europe calls/texts and a bunch of US minutes to boot and unlimited data in the same region as well. There's a high cost option which gets you access to a special high speed network, but as I travel a lot that has zero attraction for me.

          However, that will STILL not convince me to go anywhere near social media, and anyone asking me if they can "WhatsApp" gets told it's (a) not a verb and (b) not something I want to go near.

      6. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Not sure the comparison is valid

        Downvote = you said something good about FaceBitch [and most Reg readers seem to HATE it, as they should]

        but hey I get downvotes a lot, especially from my fan club. So, WELCOME ABOARD!

      7. Version 1.0 Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: Not sure the comparison is valid

        The problem with apps is that there are so many of them and you can't call your friends if they don't have the same app that you are using - but everyone has a phone so that will work even if you get spam calls. Yes, spam calls suck but spam is everywhere, you can't avoid it, it will get to you eventually whatever app you use - spam is just a blue arsed fly on the Internet.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

      8. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Not sure the comparison is valid

        "but I get the feeling it was something I said."

        Maybe some people don't have unlimited data or near constant access to free WiFi?

    3. Daniel Hall

      Re: Not sure the comparison is valid

      Free????

      Are you stupid?

      Our data is our payment! GTFO.

    4. MAH

      Re: Not sure the comparison is valid

      I think the problem is that everyone's perception of facebook is everyone's kid and mother posting crap, but in reality that's the audience (or mark to be more accurate).

      there are probably hundreds of thousands of business's who now pay for the facebook service to market their wares to the audience and really, those are the ones who are rightfully jumping up and down screaming because the service they are paying for wasn't available for 14 hours.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Not sure the comparison is valid

        What kind of company puts all their communications eggs (or even a good percentage of them) in one basket ... ESPECIALLY a basket that is owned lock, stock & barrel by another party which is not accountable in any way, shape of form to the first party's shareholders?

        Answers on a postcard.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Not sure the comparison is valid

          A company which has little choice because Facebook + Instagram + Whatsapp is getting to be a monopoly, which is E. Warren's point.

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Not sure the comparison is valid

            Stop the world, I want to get off.

        2. 2+2=5 Silver badge

          Re: Not sure the comparison is valid

          > What kind of company puts all their communications eggs (or even a good percentage of them) in one basket ...[snip] Answers on a postcard.

          Oh the irony. You do realise that, in days of yore, there was only the Post Office and every company relied on it for all their comms needs?

          There is nothing new in a business being dependent on single comms provider.

          1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

            Re: Not sure the comparison is valid

            Yes, but "The Post Office" couldn't go down. The Post Office outlet at the end of the road could go down, go to another one. The sorting office in your district could go down, the deliveries would be diverted to other sorting offices. The deliveries in Inverness could be held up by snow, that doesn't stop the deliveries in Plymouth.

            1. AMBxx Silver badge

              Re: Not sure the comparison is valid

              Maybe not, but there were postal strikes.

            2. PerlyKing Bronze badge

              Re: "The Post Office" couldn't go down

              The OP may have been referring to the time when the General Post Office also ran the telephone system, before it was spun out into a separate monopoly.

              1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

                Re: "The Post Office" couldn't go down

                Ok, taking that at face value, it was very difficult for "the phone system" to go down. Your line might go down, that doesn't take out the whole network. Your local switch might go down, that doesn't take out the whole network. Your local exchange might go down (happened to me, local exchange caught fire), that doesn't take down the whole network. The Soviet Union could decide to switch off their whole telephone system, that doesn't take the global network down.

                Your comparison is a telco wirer swapping over a couple of banks of Strowgers in Little Troddingham on the Stow, and the ENTIRE WORLD goes telephonically dark.

            3. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Not sure the comparison is valid

              Yup. The Post Office is a peer to peer system with dynamic redundant routing. And heavily regulated with universal access.

          2. jake Silver badge

            Re: Not sure the comparison is valid

            I suggest you look up the history of the telegraph and the FAX, and how radio works. To say nothing of the fastest thing in the known universe, gossip. The Post Office never had a monopoly on communications.

            1. Dan 55 Silver badge

              Re: Not sure the comparison is valid

              It did in the UK until 1979.

          3. tfb Silver badge
            Terminator

            Re: Not sure the comparison is valid

            Oh the irony. You do realise that, in days of yore, there was only the Post Office and every company relied on it for all their comms needs?

            There is nothing new in a business being dependent on single comms provider.

            What is new is relying on a comms provider who you do not pay for their services, and with whom you therefore have no contract, because people paid the Post Office for their services that payment taking the form of stamps. And if you cared enough you paid for (and still can pay for) special magic extra-expensive stamps which meant that they promised to deliver your message by a given time, to the right person, on pain of financial penalty and also promised to pay you some amount if they lost your pack(age|et). And they did do that: I've claimed on those promises and they work.

            But now we all, apparently, think that it's fine to complain bitterly when some service for which we do not pay, and with which we do not have a contract, falls over. Hint: it's not, we've just all been fuckwits to assume that there is not only a free lunch, but that it's an endless buffet, and no-one has poisoned the wine.

            Here's the thing: the free lunch is not endless, and the wine is poisoned.

        3. veti Silver badge

          Re: Not sure the comparison is valid

          A small one. Any of the several million companies that don't have enough employees to include one who knows how the Web works, because they're too busy thinking about new flavours of cheese or ways to tie up a doll's hair or changing the kitty litter.

          1. Stork Silver badge

            Re: Not sure the comparison is valid

            Yes, I am horrified by the number of small businesses with FB as only web presence.

            Our own experience is that it is quite useless for getting customers, but second only to word of mouth for finding cleaners.

            This is holiday accommodation in Portugal

      2. don't you hate it when you lose your account

        Re: Not sure the comparison is valid

        Yip they do, but what they forget is. If it looks like a duck; walks like a duck and sounds like a duck. It is a duck. In this instance replace duck with turd.

        1. Twanky
          Holmes

          Re: Not sure the comparison is valid

          'If it looks like a duck; walks like a duck and sounds like a duck. It is a duck. In this instance replace duck with turd.'

          OK:

          If it looks like a turd; walks like a turd and sounds like a turd. It is a turd.

          Walks and sounds like a turd? I don't think your digestion is quite right.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not sure the comparison is valid

        there are probably hundreds of thousands of business's who now pay for the facebook service to market their wares to the audience and really, those are the ones who are rightfully jumping up and down screaming because the service they are paying for wasn't available for 14 hours.

        One of our key requirements for anyone wanting to become part of our supply chain is that they are NOT exclusively reachable by social media, because that forces their customers to sign up to the onerous terms of these companies. Phone, email, own website: fine. FB or Twitter only: no thank you, have a nice day.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not sure the comparison is valid

        I used Facebook for some time because it was an essential component of communication for a statewide political activism group. It always irritated/concerned me to be dependent on it for this. But it was peerless for this purpose and still is. I stopped using my pseudonymous account but I am consequently in the dark about group leadership activity and important news.

        So, yes, Facebook is a public utility.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not sure the comparison is valid

      If I may say so, you've completely missed the point.

      Facebook is only free to use if you are a "user". If it was actually free it would go bust instantly. Who pays for it?

      Facebook is paid for by advertisers. And they may not be happy about that 14 hour outage. For the advertisers, Facebook is the comms channel, and going down is very much like your bank having its telephone service cut off.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Not sure the comparison is valid

        "going down is very much like your bank having its telephone service cut off."

        I'm not sure about that. Banks seem to have no compunction at all about cutting off their most direct link with customers: branches.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Facebook is paid for by advertisers.

        Is it?

        Who provides the money for ("pays for") the advertisers then?

        [and so on]

        One day, it may become clearer who's paying for Facebook etc.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Facebook is paid for by advertisers.

          However, if someone is bothering to advertise to you it means you have discretion as to whether to buy their product, so you also have discretion as to whether you fund Facebook indirectly.

          Advertising is a necessary evil. Whether you are making supercars, solar panels or even low cost water treatment for poor countries, if nobody knows about the product it is going nowhere. And if things are produced in low volume, they cost more to make.

          I've just located (and bought) an essential part for a vintage restoration project in Greece. Without advertising I'd be stuck.

          The quality of advertising, now, different matter.

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Facebook is paid for by advertisers.

            "However, if someone is bothering to advertise to you it means you have discretion as to whether to buy their product, so you also have discretion as to whether you fund Facebook indirectly."

            If you choose not to use Facebook you don't know who's advertising on it so you don't know whose products to avoid so as not to fund it.

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: Facebook is paid for by advertisers.

              "If you choose not to use Facebook you don't know who's advertising on it so you don't know whose products to avoid so as not to fund it."

              Many people use adblockers with facebook, and that number is growing daily. These people don't even know ads exist on facebook. MeDearOldMum included. (No, I didn't install the adblockers; she got irritated at the useless advertising and found them for herself. I'm absolutely certain she's not the only techno-can't to have figured it out. Worse (at least for facebook), she showed all her friends at church how to make the ads go away.)

              Methinks the ubiquitous advertising model is on the path to extinction.

    6. PhilipN Silver badge

      Re: Not sure the comparison is valid

      But instructive. The (supposed) 99.99% uptime feature of phone systems allows possibly down time in a year of..... oh I can't be arsed..... it is a Very Short Period.

      1. PT

        Re: Not sure the comparison is valid

        That should be easy. There are approximately 8000 hours in a year, so the possible down time is 8/10 of an hour, or 48 minutes.

    7. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

      Re: Not sure the comparison is valid

      'Facebook' isn't free if you are using Facebook Workplace, Instagram has paid options as far as I can see, and Whatsapp Business is paid for.

      So, no, it isn't 'free'.

      Of course I personally think your head needs feeling if you use any Facebook services as a critical part of your business.

      Yes, I do use it, and it's necessary for various community activities I'm involved in, mostly due to critical mass.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Not sure the comparison is valid

        "Yes, I do use it, and it's necessary for various community activities I'm involved in, mostly due to critical mass."

        In such a situation the community activity would have to do without me.

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: Not sure the comparison is valid

          Yes, I was persuaded to try Faecebook in 2011 and found a local group which I really was part of, enjoyed and I still miss. It's still going. I had ended all activity except that group, until I faced up to the fact that having an account on Faecebook was just too high price to pay. I'm very pleased to be off Faecebook and feel some shame about my previous involvement. If I could go back I would never have joined.

          I am working in building an alternative and better way of doing that local group. It's only laziness that keeps Faecebook going. Theres always a better way of doing anything it can do.

          1. SImon Hobson Silver badge

            Re: Not sure the comparison is valid

            I'm very pleased to be off Faecebook

            Oh you poor deluded soul. You can never leave FaecesBorg - like the Hotel California, you can check out, but you can never leave.

            They will still be tracking you, they will still be holding and using all that information gained back then and since. Leaving is just an illusion.

            1. werdsmith Silver badge

              Re: Not sure the comparison is valid

              They would be tracking me regardless of whether I had ever had an account anyway.

              But that dirty feeling that came from using Faecebook has gone anyway.

    8. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. tfb Silver badge
        Alien

        Re: Not sure the comparison is valid

        Their customers pay them. Advertisers.

    9. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Not sure the comparison is valid

      "I'm no fan of Facebook, but moaning about a free "service" being down is a bit much? "

      It was also a 14 hour outage for the paying customers, ie the advertisers.

    10. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not sure the comparison is valid

      Their users are the people who pay for data, they might get a bit upset if the plug is pulled. The outage probably cost FB some coin.

  3. Chris Gray 1
    Black Helicopters

    tapping now done

    Never having visited a Facebook site, I wouldn't have known either.

    Being paranoid, my theory is that the downtime was needed to insert US government tapping tendrils deep into their infrastructure, so that everything is properly gathered up.

    Either that or they had to thoroughly delete all sorts of incriminating stuff (and all backups of it), in preparation for any and all upcoming investigations.

    1. Nunyabiznes

      Re: tapping now done

      "Either that or they had to thoroughly delete all sorts of incriminating stuff (and all backups of it), in preparation for any and all upcoming investigations."

      That is my personal favorite tinfoil theory of the day.

    2. JimboSmith Silver badge

      Re: tapping now done

      My Mum swore blind that she'd never used Facebook when sent a sextortion email*. I said Facebook had bern hacked and that was where they had doubtless got her password. She protested she had no idea how somebody had got the password she uses for non financial stuff on the internet. So I looked at her password history on her iPhone and there was facebook.com and her password. The reply was that she must have been blind drunk at the time.

      *She hadn't read any of the email past the bit stating that this loser had her password before calling me. When I pointed out that according to the email she'd been visiting adult sites she burst out laughing. She's a 70+ widow who thinks those porn sites are the worst things on the internet and certainly not for visiting thank you very much. She's not Mary Whitehouse the second but won't be a customer of theirs any time soon.

    3. veti Silver badge

      Re: tapping now done

      Why would they tap Facebook?

      That's like stealing books from your own library.

  4. Cheese_Conquistador

    Somebody accidentally installed adblock software onto a server and then kaboom.

    1. Someone Else Silver badge
      Coffee/keyboard

      Look what you went and made me do! --->

  5. Nunyabiznes

    Optional

    FB is a purely optional "free" "service". Anyone really bent out of shape about it being down should not be listened to.

    Any entity using it as their only means of communication with the public deserves what they get - hopefully a right good kicking. Unfortunately it is the primary source of <propaganda> information dispensing of our local city gov. :rolleyes: Luckily there are plenty of people within the city gov that let the local news outlets know what is going on.

    As far as them getting put in the crosshairs over some of their business dealings - especially with regards to privacy - good.

    1. eldakka Silver badge

      Re: Optional

      FB is a purely optional "free" "service".

      Just because you , or your friends, family, and other people don't pay (money) for it doesn't mean that others don't. Otherwise, where does FBs US$55Billion a year revenue come from?

      1. tfb Silver badge
        Alien

        Re: Optional

        It comes from advertisers. And they, being Facebook's customers & having contracts with Facebook, are the people who might actually want to complain about this.

        It's more than faintly absurd that people seem to be seriously suggesting that some service (WhatsApp, say) which they don't pay for, which has no stated availability level, and which could simply be withdrawn at any moment, is now so vital to people that is must be regulated like a telco. What kind of stupidity got us to this point?

        1. Huw D Silver badge

          Re: Optional

          "What kind of stupidity got us to this point?"

          Letting the General Public on to the Internet and letting people market to them.

          1. tfb Silver badge

            Re: Optional

            Yes, that.

          2. Pirate Dave Silver badge
            Pirate

            Re: Optional

            "Letting the General Public on to the Internet "

            One day, far in the future, lizard historians will write tomes about how the ancient Internet originally promised to bring knowledge and power to the masses, but instead brought the downfall of an era of civilization.

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Optional

          "It comes from advertisers."

          And where do the advertisers get their money from?

  6. Mark 85 Silver badge

    I wonder if they did a more in depth explanation to the cash source for FB? If I were an advertiser spending money on them for ad delivery, I'd sure as hell want to know what happened... for how long... and then I'd auditing my bills for ads that were supposedly delivered during the outage. Then again, in many ways, FB is more secretive than the NSA.

    1. jake Silver badge

      As an advertiser ...

      ... why are you paying them for a product that they offer no accountability for?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: As an advertiser ...

        "Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted but nobody can tell me which half" - attr. Lord Lever.

        Facebook and Google claim to tell you which half. Other platforms, go whistle.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: As an advertiser ...

          "Facebook and Google claim to tell you which half."

          Adblockers are even better. They stop you spending the wrong half.

        2. katrinab Silver badge

          Re: As an advertiser ...

          There is a lot of advertising fraud on the viewer side as well as the advertiser site - some site owners have bots visiting their side and closed cking on the ads to generate revenue.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "Then again, in many ways, FB is more secretive than the NSA."

      Yes, its their new "Privacy First" regime. Their privacy, obviously, hence the minimal PR over the outage.

  7. gcarter

    Cleaner unplugged something

    Probably a cleaner in the server room and unplugging something to plug in their Henry vacuum!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Cleaner unplugged something

      That's a configuration change.

  8. IGnatius T Foobar !

    The worst thing about this outage...

    ...is that it was fixed.

    1. alain williams Silver badge

      Re: The worst thing about this outage...

      I wonder how many more productive hours were done at work, school, ... as a result.

      Maybe this should happen more often!

      1. Andy Non

        Re: The worst thing about this outage...

        Unlikely, the kids would be more likely crying into their milkshakes and off to see the doctor with suspected PTSD.

        1. PerlyKing Bronze badge

          Re: The worst thing about this outage...

          The kids I know either didn't notice (FB isn't cool) or switched seamlessly to Discord. The parents on the other hand....

          1. Andy 97

            Re: The worst thing about this outage...

            Instagram is though..

            They've got da kidz in their clutches too.

      2. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: The worst thing about this outage...

        I wonder how many more productive hours were done at work, school, ... as a result.

        Well there was answer on the kids part. for the productive hours at work... probably a bit less and people got up and gathered around the coffee machine (or tea or whatever) and whined while swapping all the gossip verbally and repeating it to the late ones showing up instead of typing it once and copying all their friends.

        Then again, many may have just sat there staring into space not knowing what to do.

      3. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: The worst thing about this outage...

        I wonder how many more productive hours were done at work, school, ... as a result.

        Could say the same about The Register round this IT shop.

  9. VikiAi Silver badge
    Boffin

    millions of people's communications* are affected

    * For certain values of "communication" only.

  10. Jon Smit

    Took your time over this

    Scooped by the BBC 24 hours ago.

    1. kierenmccarthy

      Re: Took your time over this

      Seems unlikely given that the explanation was only provided an hour or so before the story went up.

      Or do you mean the outage itself - an issue that we wrote about yesterday and is currently the Most Read story. Have a look on the right. Over here --->

      Still, thanks for your inaccurate feedback.

      1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

        Re: Took your time over this

        Ha ha, Jon Smit, *BUSTED* !

        1. JSIM

          Re: Took your time over this

          Wednesday evening I first read about this, at the Guardian I think, and came here next. Couldn't find it. Been finding everything I've looked for here since around Y2K at least. No time to check every headline with the name Facebook in it and I was scanning for something like "Millions of Shocked Users Left Frantically Rubbing Smartphones as Social Media Heavyweight Falls Flat on Its Facebook - Ongoing Global Outage Knocks Out Services" or at least the word "outage."

          What I overlooked was "What today links Gmail, Google Drive, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram - apart from being run by monopolistic personal data harvesters?"

          My bad, but it just did not register. I'd seen news about Google's problems late Tuesday EST (again elsewhere and didn't find it here) and did not put 2 and 2 together to come up with a title that sounded like a quiz, so I really can't be hard on Jon Smit myself.

          Anyway, I think I liked Jon's post better than kierenmccarthy's, even though he made a mistake. For myself, I could have used a link. When you're reading this at 150% (because eyes) with AdBlock, "on the right. Over here --->" is somewhere else, I don't know.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Thumb Up

            Re: Took your time over this

            ...or at least the word "outrage."

            Typo corrected.

          2. Jamie Jones Silver badge
            Happy

            Re: Took your time over this

            Well, it wasn't the fact that he missed the link, but the fact he missed it, and then made a snarky comment about it not existing!

            On a simalar vane, eyed nevor critsize sumwon on there spelin and gramma

            1. Someone Else Silver badge

              Re: Took your time over this

              ...or grampa...

  11. Blockchain commentard Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Server config changed to allow privacy settings for customers to work. Result shown!!!!

  12. David 45
    Mushroom

    Faecesbook.

    Fixed? Pity it wasn't permanently down. Invention of the devil.

    1. Swarthy Silver badge

      Re: Faecesbook.

      Zuckerburg's not the devil, he's just a very naughty boy.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Faeces of Brian.

        Giving you an upvote for the Life of Brian reference, but only on condition that Zuck meets the same end as Brian did. M'kay?

  13. Barrie Shepherd

    No need to worry it was just the ASIO 'patch' being installed, it took some time to populate around the server farm and out to target mobiles.

  14. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
    Stop

    Not an argument for regulation

    Of the many arguments in favor of regulating Facebook, this hardly seems like one. There are many alternate forms of communication, as this should serve as a (cough) Signal to investigate them. If you're depending on a free service for communication, now would be a good time to rethink that approach.

  15. Mr Benny

    Facebook a critical service?

    Get a fucking grip. Its about as critical to public life and the economy as MySpace and AOL were - ie not at all. If it ever goes down permanently all the nacissists, no lifers and general iself important idiots who use it will soon go find another online toy to play with and within a few years it'll be relegated to the "Oh, do you remember...?" pub chat category.

    1. teknopaul Silver badge

      Re: Facebook a critical service?

      The fact that something is not here now, does not imply it was not important when it was.

      1. Mr Benny

        Re: Facebook a critical service?

        Sure, except they weren't important. Social media is an online toy, nothing more. They're websites to piss away time, not do anything usefule and unlike physical infrastructure such as cabling or roads etc , a new version can be created and brought online at any time. Anyone who thinks otherwise needs to get away from their phone screen and re-engage with the real world a bit more.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Facebook a critical service?

          >>> Social media is an online toy, nothing more. They're websites to piss away time.

          So are comments on The Register.

          (Anonymous because I am doing it, too....)

          1. Mr Benny

            Re: Facebook a critical service?

            Exactly. If this site went down it would be unfortunate but the world would keep turning.

  16. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    Big Brother

    And I thought

    it my cat sabotaging the thing since I had a picture of a being known as a 'dog' to post on FB and everyone knows the internet is for cat pictures only

    Or pR0n

  17. SteveGS

    Nothing to gawp at on the iPhart?

    Might be the reason why fewer kids than usual walked off the pavement in front of my bike yesterday...

  18. adnim Silver badge
    Meh

    yeah

    Nginx can be a bitch if ya miss a semicolon

    Really need an IDNGAF icon

  19. EastFinchleyite

    Service Levels

    I started working for the UK Post Office Telecommunications Department (latterly BT) in 1975. We didn't really have formally defined availability targets such as Five Nines or who knows how many Sigmas. Or none that I know of. The rule of thumb was that if you didn't get dial tone by the time you put the phone receiver to your ear their was something wrong.

    That lovely sound reminiscent of someone grinding dog food meant that the system was ready for your dial pulses. God forbid that there was silence; that would require you send your servant to deliver a letter of rebuke to the local Postmaster.

    As for having Customer Services? Yes we had many people working in Customer Services.We had lots of highly polished turds.

  20. LateAgain

    But seriously

    Could easily happen if the "servers" you push the update to are routers and you just blocked them from updates.

    Software defined networking gotcha number one.

  21. Tromos

    14 hour outage

    Too short - by at least 6 orders of magnitude

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Workplace down too

    While Facebook is "Free", the corporate version Workplace is a paid service. This was also down during this outage. I received an email yesterday simply stating that the service was down and that contrary to speculation the outage was not caused by a DDoS attack. I also received an email today stating that the service was now fully restored, reinforcing the fact that it was not caused by an external attack and that they would be sharing more information in the near future.

    There may be more information on the Workplace blog - https://www.facebook.com/workplace/blog/workplace-update-2/

    AC because I have a Workplace account.

    1. whitepines Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Workplace down too

      Anonymous? And you use Facebook?

      Oh the irony....

  23. cb7

    They tried running Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp all on one platform, but the conflicting privacy rules (all WhatsApp users can contact each other unless explicitly blocked vs complex Facebook rules where some profiles are private) caused the poor thing to tie itself up in knots.

    1. Old Shoes

      Symptoms of the WhatsApp outage smelt like they were using portions of the same infrastructure. Pure text messages would send, but image uploads would take a long time before failing. This is as though they were being uploaded to some Facebook image store that was not responding.

      This was also the symptom of when the Chinese government was trying to stop certain photos of Winnie the Pooh being uploaded on WhatsApp. They just blocked any uploads of approximately the same size.

      https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/07/18/china_censorship_includes_images_in_transit/

  24. chivo243 Silver badge
    Angel

    Raises Finger

    It was me... My first and last day!

  25. LDS Silver badge

    Can't see why merging the services would hinder a determined regulator...

    Actually, it would be a signal you really need to break Facebook - and then it's up to Facebook to solve the technical issues.

    "Too big to be broken" should not really be allowed. - as antitrust is designed to break up exactly those who became too big and hinder a competitive market.

    Anyway, it was a bit silly to let Zuck code some of the merged backend...

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Can't see why merging the services would hinder a determined regulator...

      Exactly. If it becomes hard to pick them apart it's their problem. If it becomes impossible to pick them apart (unlikely) triumph.

  26. RyokuMas Silver badge
    Coat

    Universal liar translator...

    ... mine is pinging between "trying to stuff more ads into the feed" and "trying to break FB Purity"...

  27. herman Silver badge

    Facebook Down == Improvement in Quality of Life

    People should celebrate when Facebook is down.

  28. macjules Silver badge
    Angel

    Meanwhile in the Facebook bunker

    Zuck: "Has anyone tried switching the server off and on again?"

    1. chivo243 Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Meanwhile in the Facebook bunker

      Zuck: "Has anyone tried switching the server off?"

      That't better!

  29. Totally not a Cylon
    Joke

    A sudden disturbance in the web

    It's as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.......

    I can't believe I'm the first to think of the above,

    1. LDS Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: A sudden disturbance in the web

      You just put the Death Star in a good light...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A sudden disturbance in the web

        1st 'Totally not a Cylon' absolute classic, I loved it !!! [I am not even a Starwars fan and I got it !!!]

        2nd, if someone could create a 'Deathstar' that *only* impacted FB it would be crowdfunded in hours !!!

    2. arctic_haze Silver badge
      Alien

      Re: A sudden disturbance in the web

      It is no moon!

  30. Teawain

    One Tweet

    One Twet is fine but when it's drafted, erased and rewritten a few times.

    Customer (dis)loyalty? Not arf.

  31. Teawain

    the wheels ...

    Seems the wheels are wobbling on many of the big platforms of late. As dependancy and dopamine rise, so do the 'traumas' when they're unavailable.

  32. LDS Silver badge
    Devil

    FB under criminal investigations in NY

    I just read Facebook is under criminal investigation in New York - wasn't someone overzealous while deleting incriminating data???

  33. Milton Silver badge

    The Facebook Experiment, aka 'Project DF'

    The Facebook Experiment is one of those ultra top secrets that hides in plain sight. It actually began years ago, with Zuckerberg's notable observation that Facebook users were "dumb fucks". Since then the hidden-yet-obvious programme, internally known to a select few as 'Project DF', has continued as a kind of psychological experiment-cum-profit-making enterprise.

    Its purpose: to see just how much contempt and disrespect for its users and civilised society in general the company can demonstrate while the DFs continue to drool fecklessly over use the platform.

    Those in the know once had a cruise-ship-style sweepstake going as to how badly the company could behave before being punished, but since even the High Range was long since exhausted, the money has been returned to bettors. It transpires that DFs are also heavily represented among US and UK politicians, giving the company free rein for ever more atrocious behaviour.

    Notable because Zuckerberg was, on that occasion, being truthful.

    Buyer's Remorse followed the purchase of a failed, widely reviled UK politician, and the company has been able to shut its slush lobbying fund. The decision was made at a meeting where the CFO's point that "We only need to bribe the intelligent ones" was greeted with awed silence.

  34. TiredAndShaggedOut

    'Twas The day Captain Kirk signed up for his FB account

    Alternatively, maybe my theory that FB coders type with their foreheads is actually correct.

  35. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    Nah, the real cause was they tried to upgrade their lone Windows 10 workstation (acting as server) to the latest and newest offering from M$, and promptly rolled the upgrade back when their preciouses faceboob software shit the bed, which took quite a while...

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    God, every time I see him. He looks like such a pasty faced psycho.

    1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

      I always assumed that was one of el reg's stock photos, chosen, like the one of that dodgy FCC bloke, to laugh at.

  37. tfb Silver badge
    Boffin

    The network is the computer

    From the article:

    The other big question is how a "server configuration change" led to not just Facebook but also its Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram services going down. That would strongly suggest that Facebook has either connected them up or attempted to connect them up at a low level, merging them into one broad platform.

    While it's always nice to spread fear and paranoia like this, there is a rather obvious answer which does not involve such exciting scariness: it's pretty likely (and also well-known to actually be the case) that Facebook, along with other large organisations, don't send their backhaul traffic over the public internet. Instead they have a lot of physical connectivity that they've bought or leased, and they send traffic over that network. And, obviously, they send all their backhaul traffic over that network: Facebook's traffic, WhatsApp's traffic & everything, because why wouldn't they do that? If that network gets fucked up, then everything that uses it falls apart, and this outage has all the characteristics of some internal network outage: someone made some configuration change to a bunch of switches or routers and everything fell apart catastrophically, we've all been there, right?

    Sharing a common network infrastructure is not 'merging [distinct services] into one broad platform' any more than the fact that my web browser and NFS client share the same network in my house is 'merging them into one broad platform': they're just sharing some infrastructure.

    1. Stevie Silver badge

      Re: The network is the computer

      "Fear and paranoia"?

      I think when it comes to Big Data one can use the term "reasonable expectation". I don't think anyone older than 14 gets afraid or paranoid about Facebook being unavailable. I am a happy member of the "never used it, never will" club and against all expectation it hasn't ruined my life. It did make my Twitter* feed a bit puzzling with people I follow retweeting comments that - sans the knowledge that Facebook was AWOL - made no sense whatsoever, but then, you can say that about 90% of what people write in the context-free world of Twitter feed blither-grabs.

      * - Which I use as a news aggregator, outlet for my occasional urge to perpetrate smart-arse one-liners and mechanism for disseminating the words of Lord Buckethead to anyone too slow to get out of the way

  38. Patched Out

    Who me?

    I expect a Who Me? article to come out of this eventually.

  39. Ian Reissmann

    Intrigued at the Reg's outrage at FB minimal explanation of the outage.

    1. How do you think a comprehensive technical explanation makes things better ?

    2. Are you going to suggest the FB refund people's money ?

  40. Pirate Dave Silver badge
    Pirate

    Obvious

    Well, it's obvious now that Facebook is head-hunting their admins from Redmond's detritus. This was a Microsoft-scale outage.

    Wagers on DNS being the culprit?

  41. This post has been deleted by its author

  42. csecguy44

    Simple explanation

    All their storage got filled up with data about us, and it took 14 hours to get more drives from Amazon Prime

  43. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Happy

    Simples

    https://xkcd.com/908/

  44. Gil Grissum

    Was finally able to change my password and login. Config problem? Wonder if it was caused by a College grad who was on an Athletic Scholarship for a sport they didn't play, bought their grades, and were hired for a job for which they had no skills? I have encountered those type of half a$$ techs, for almost 20 years. They weren't all foreigners. >:-)

  45. Aynon Yuser

    All I can say is BWAHAHA

  46. Someone Else Silver badge
    Headmaster

    Dashboard

    Problems at Facebook:

    1) Management

    2) Lack of effective governance

    3) See 1) and 2)

  47. Chris G Silver badge

    I'm in

    After the previous 150 comments I have nothing to add but I didn't want to feel left out.

  48. Zippy´s Sausage Factory
    Devil

    I hope they didn't lose any data that might be important to any of these criminal investigations. I'm sure they wouldn't want that, what with it being illegal and all that.

    But I'm sure we can trust them...

  49. No 3

    You pay for your phone service, hence the expectation of explanation.

    You pay exactly zero for FB/WhatsApp/etc, so you can expect exactly that as explanation.

    If you rely on those services for real communication, well, you should reconsider your priorities.

  50. Rainer

    Testing is difficult at scale

    I remember an article about WhatsApp (before it was acquired).

    They said they can't really do any serious load-testing. What they ended up doing was to fade-in chances on a server-by-server basis and see how it played out.

    WhatsApp had very few servers back then, even though it had 900 million users.

    That said, because of the lack of a FB account, I couldn't care less about their outages. The sooner they go away, the better for humanity.

  51. Sporkfighter

    "Is a single tweet enough when millions of people's communications are affected?"

    It wasn't communication, it was only Facebook.

  52. ekiro

    You can never trust facebook. Period.

  53. Bob4Health
    WTF?

    This is a business system designed to sell to the users.

    They provide no assurances of system availability.

    There is no user training because the interface was designed for morons.

    The applications suck. Imagine a mail system without an Index, and

    God, I miss Dec's Notes Conferences, where all the threads were indexed.

    I realize we are going back to the fact that Dec had a better solution in 1985.

    If someone asked me to fix Facebook, I'd power off the computer,

    open it up, as that always worked when a system was down and directors were

    banging on your door.

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