Internet’s week of hell continues with WhatsApp and Twitter outages

4 Jul 2019561 Views

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The past week has been littered with major outages across the internet, showing the power a small number of companies have online.

Facebook and its products Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger experienced partial but significant outages yesterday (3 July) that left users unable to send or receive files including images. The outage began around 3pm IST and lasted for almost 10 hours.

At approximately 1am IST this morning (4 July), Facebook posted to Twitter to tell users that the issue was resolved and all services “should be back at 100pc for everyone”. In explaining what could have caused such an outage to span the best part of a day, the social network said that an unspecified issue had been triggered during “routine maintenance”.

Experiences across the platforms varied, with Facebook users noticing images that failed to upload to the platform showed the text created by its algorithms to identify photos, such as “Image may contain: food”.

Data from Downdetector.com showed that, at its peak, more than 14,000 users had reported the outage on Instagram and more than 1,600 on WhatsApp. Many of these reports appeared to come from Europe as well as major urban centres across the globe.

Facebook did not respond to queries that the outage could have been related to its plans to link its three messaging platforms Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger.

Twitter also affected

However, as users turned to Twitter as an alternative platform to vent their annoyance, many users noticed their tweets were also not working as normal. Just before 5pm IST, Twitter’s support account tweeted that it was “having some issues with DM delivery and notifications”.

Twitter’s other platforms also experienced total outages. Tweetdeck – the social media dashboard owned by Twitter – went down for many users, who reported not being able to access it.

The social media platform’s last message to users was to say that the outage was “almost at 100pc resolved” but warned of “some residual effects for a small group of people”.

It comes towards the end of a week to forget for many working behind the scenes to keep the internet afloat. Just a day before, users across the world came across many websites displaying the error message ‘502 Bad Gateway’.

It was later revealed that Cloudflare, a content delivery and DDoS protection provider, said an error on its part was behind the massive outage. In a blogpost, Cloudflare CTO John Graham-Cumming was able to reveal that the CPU spike was the result of “bad software deploy that was rolled back”. He stressed that this was not the result of a well-crafted DDoS attack.

Colm Gorey is a journalist with Siliconrepublic.com

editorial@siliconrepublic.com