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DENVER (CBS4) – Social media platforms used by millions of people worldwide went offline Monday. Users of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp didn’t have access to their apps for hours. The realization of how critical these platforms are for many social and work communications quickly set in.
April Denmon, owner of Denmon Realty, says she gets a good amount of business from Facebook. She attempted to make a post about a new listing Monday morning, but it never went through.
“We thought it was our internet connection, so we restarted our phones. We tried for hours,” said Denmon. “I feel it’s important to show our work on Facebook and social media. We show buyers what we’re doing and show sellers what we’re doing as well.”
Facebook has been down briefly several times in the past, but Monday’s outage lasted nearly 6 hours.
Nathan Evans, a Teaching Assistant at DU’s Department of Computer Science, says users should be concerned about the lengthy outage. Evans says Facebook has had privacy and security troubles in the past.
“People view it almost as a public service, not that it is a public service, but that’s kind of what it has become,” said Evans. “I think people trust it and use it to log in to other things because Facebook has done a pretty good job of maintaining its image. I think that’s why people trust them so much.”
Evans told CBS4’s Tori Mason he does not have a Facebook anymore. He says he doesn’t like the idea of having his online interactions and communications in one place where someone can use it to sell. He says Facebook is in the business to make money.
Users’ time and targeted advertising help the company earn profits.
“People rely on services, like Facebook or Google, and they’re free. You’re not paying for it. They don’t really have any obligation to keep it up,” said Evans. “If Facebook goes down like this, sure their business partners and advertisers are going to be upset. But you or I really don’t have any recourse. There’s not any reason we should expect that they would keep things up, other than the fact that they’re basically making money off of us.”
Facebook users like Denmon benefit from the reach of Facebook, but she doesn’t put her customers’ information in jeopardy.
“I don’t put any of my clients’ personal information on Facebook. I always ask them if it’s okay to post their pictures or if it’s okay to post the property that they bought,” said Denmon. “I do have Facebook ads, so I have a credit card on file that’s stored in there. Hopefully that wasn’t compromised today or any other time that Facebook has been shut down. I’m not too worried about it. Hopefully it can stay that way.”
Late Monday evening, a Facebook Engineering blog explained the disruptions:
“Our engineering teams have learned that configuration changes on the backbone routers that coordinate network traffic between our data centers caused issues that interrupted this communication.
This disruption to network traffic had a cascading effect on the way our data centers communicate, bringing our services to a halt.
Our services are now back online and we’re actively working to fully return them to regular operations. We want to make clear at this time we believe the root cause of this outage was a faulty configuration change. We also have no evidence that user data was compromised as a result of this downtime.”