“Sorry, something went wrong. We’re working on getting this fixed as soon as we can,” greeted users attempting to access their accounts across the globe during the outage.
The longest outage since 2010 wasn’t limited to desktops but affected mobile users and Messenger services as well. Users took to Twitter under the hashtag (#)Facebookdown as it trended almost immediately.
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Angry users take to Twitter
“Late last night, we ran into an issue while updating the configuration of one of our software systems,” Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) spokesman Jay Nancarrow said. “Not long after we made the change, some people started to have trouble accessing Facebook. We quickly spotted and fixed the problem.”
Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) promised that it would learn from the outage last night. “This doesn’t happen often, but when it does we make sure we learn from the experience so we can make Facebook that much more reliable,” the company spokesman said.
Facebook wasn’t terribly forthcoming about the cause of the outage as it was in 2010 when a blog post at the time attributed the cause to an “unfortunate handling of an error condition.”
The anger that was expressed by many on Twitter last night was immediate and just goes to show how important the service has become to hundreds of millions both personally and professionally.
Facebook’s apology and financial ramifications
“Nothing is more important to us than making sure Facebook is there when people need it, and we apologize to anyone who may have had trouble connecting last night,” Nancarrow said.
Jeff Bercovici, a staff writer at Forbes, estimates that the outage cost the world’s most successful social network a little more than $500,000 last night. Presumably, he arrived at this number by taking Facebook’s first-quarter revenues of $2.5 billion and extrapolated that to $1.16 million in revenue per hour. He then likened it to a “mosquito bite” for a company that has spent nearly $20 billion in acquisitions this year with the lion’s share going to the company’s acquisition of WhatsApp.