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Tanya Valdez is a Technical Writer at Constellix. She makes the information-transfer material digestible through her own transfer of information to our customers and readers. Connect with her on LinkedIn.
They say bad luck comes in threes. Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram are witnessing this misfortune with another major outage for 2021.
Downdetector started showing complaints of the outage around 10:30 a.m. CST. The site displays over 127,000 reports of the outage for Facebook and over 98,000 for Instagram. Facebook’s communication exec Andy Stone tweeted “We’re aware that some people are having trouble accessing our apps and products. We’re working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible, and we apologize for any inconvenience.”
Early reports of the incident were declaring it as a DNS issue. Cloudflare’s senior vice president Dan Knecht took to Twitter to state Facebook’s border gateway protocol (BGP) routes had been removed:
.@Facebook DNS and other services are down. It appears their BGP routes have been withdrawn from the internet. @Cloudflare 18.104.22.168 started seeing high failure in last 20mins.
When you attempt to visit Facebook and WhatsApp, you are given the following error message: DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN. This usually indicates that the website is having a DNS issue. This message can vary depending on the browser, but it means the fully-qualified domain name, or FQDN, cannot be found by the resolving nameserver. Instagram shows a 5XX Server Error message, which indicates a problem with the server that requires administrative attention.
When performing an nslookup for Facebook, the DNS query result also displays an error: unknown can't find facebook.com: Server failed.title
Outages have been proven to be in abundance and as internet usage increases, this trend will only rise. Most can be prevented by creating redundancy for the domain. Points of failure can be pinpointed and addressed by choosing the services and products that specifically respond to your domain’s needs. Here are some of the major DNS outages that occurred between 2020 to 2021.
June 2021, July 2021
2020: February, March (2), May, June, September (2), October, November 2021: April 2021
April, July 2020
March, May 2021
January, March, April, June, August 2020, April 2021
It’s always DNS, right? Until it’s not. Based on Knecht’s response and new information rolling in, others in the DNS industry are speculating it to be an internal issue that left their routers inaccessible. Instagram shows that they use AWS Route 53 for their DNS service, while Facebook and WhatsApp shows “internal.” AWS’s status page does not show any issues. They could have experienced issues rolling back this change.
At this point, it is all speculation until we have a final word from Facebook.
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