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Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram have temporarily disappeared from the Internet

Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram have temporarily disappeared from the Internet
Photo Credit: Pixabay
4 Oct, 2021

Social media platforms WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook have gone down in some parts of the world, according to user posts on various platforms. The website downdetector.in, a platform that crowdsources user reports for platform outages, shows over 31000, 17000 and 6000 user reports for each of the three services, respectively.

According to Dane Knecht, Senior vice President of web infrastructure and security company Cloudflare, domain name service (DNS) and border gateway protocol (BGP) have been withdrawn from the internet. DNS is the Internet’s address book, which converts human readable domain names like Facebook.com to machine readable forms. The BGP is a routing protocol for the Internet, which picks the most efficient route for data to travel so that Internet traffic is delivered smoothly.

This means that at this point, the Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram domain names literally do not exist on the Internet. Since the Internet is a web of networks connecting to each other, withdrawing the DNS and BGP off the Internet is akin to removing a person’s name from the phonebook in a non-Internet connected world.

The three platforms have also acknowledged the outages. "Sorry, something went wrong. We're working on it and we'll get it fixed as soon as we can," says a message on Facebook’s website. “We’re aware that some people are experiencing issues with WhatsApp at the moment. We’re working to get things back to normal and will send an update here as soon as possible,” messaging giant WhatsApp said in a statement on Twitter.

Further, it seems the telecom networks around India are also experiencing issues. According to DownDetector, the website has received over 2000 reports each for the networks since 9.30pm today, around the same time when the three Facebook-owned platforms went down. The two networks haven’t issued public statements at this time.

Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp account for the lion’s share of India’s social media user base. According to data provided by the government in February this year, the three platforms have 53 crore, 41 crore and 21 crore users in India, respectively.