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WhatsApp and Instagram suffered global outages in October for two years in a row. What's this October jinx?

WhatsApp and Instagram suffered global outages in October for two years in a row. What's this October jinx?

Both WhatsApp and Instagram suffered global outages in October, the second year in a row that Meta's services went down in that period

Both WhatsApp and Instagram suffered global outages in October, the second year in a row that Meta's services went down in that period Both WhatsApp and Instagram suffered global outages in October, the second year in a row that Meta's services went down in that period

For tech giant Meta, October has been the cruellest month—especially in the past two years. A day after Diwali—the festival of lights that saw millions of messages being exchanged over WhatsApp in India—users the world over used microblogging site Twitter to vent their frustration at being unable to send and receive messages, videos and photos on the messaging platform. Soon, #WhatsAppDown was trending on Twitter after the outage on October 25.

The complete bouquet of WhatsApp services—video and voice calls, status features, and other crucial services such as WhatsApp Business and WhatsApp Pay also failed to operate. The outage lasted for about two hours—one of the longest for WhatsApp. Parent company Meta, while apologising for the outage, said: “The brief outage was a result of a technical error on our part and has now been resolved.”

About a week later, on the evening of October 31, it was time for photo-sharing service Instagram to suffer an outage. Users across the world complained about not being able to access their accounts, with several even losing followers. Services were restored in around eight hours after parent Meta resolved the bug. Not much is known about the recent outage, though.

This isn’t the first time Meta has suffered outages in October. Last year, Meta’s entire family of apps—Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram—suffered an outage that was more than five hours long. The disruption was attributed to a faulty configuration change on routers that coordinate the company’s networks.

Since the recent global WhatsApp outage, Meta has been asked by India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) to submit a report behind the reason for the outage to ICERT, the nodal cybersecurity agency of the government. That’s routine as it is procedural for MeitY to take action when there is any disruption to the internet in India’s geographical domain.

While outages leave users frustrated, companies lose money. Some reports suggest that for every hour the company is offline, Meta loses more than $200,000. In fact, last year’s outage saw Founder Mark Zuckerberg’s net worth going down by more than $8 billion. Facebook’s other significant outage was in 2019, when technical errors affected its websites for 24 hours.

But it’s not just Meta that suffers outages. Google’s search engine was briefly down in August this year, while Twitter suffered an hour’s outage in July. And while users are a frustrated lot because of the interrupted connections, such outages hit companies where it hurts the most.

@nidhisingal

Published on: Nov 15, 2022, 1:46 PM IST
Posted by: Arnav Das Sharma, Nov 11, 2022, 12:31 PM IST
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