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Facebook down: The digital apocalypse has ended but the memes live on


By Sarah Finnan
05th Oct 2021

Netflix / Twitter

Facebook down: The digital apocalypse has ended but the memes live on

Facebook down, Instagram down, and WhatsApp down all in one fell swoop? Needless to say, someone was in deep trouble last night.

Last night’s digital apocalypse was a bit mad, wasn’t it? I don’t know about you, but the whole thing felt a bit surreal to me – kind of like when the electricity goes out and you and your family are forced to gather in the sitting room by candlelight. Initially, it was kind of exciting. The evening was ours once again and with no Facebook, Instagram or WhatsApp to eat into our leisure time, we could finally get to all the things that have been sitting on our to-do lists for weeks… or, you know, we could scroll through Twitter instead. 

Maybe some of you actually were productive during the global outage, I was not though and Twitter had more than enough content to keep me entertained in lieu of its three sister platforms. Below you’ll find a roundup of some of our favourite digital apocalypse tweets and memes – but before we get to those, it would probably be wise to explain what exactly happened. 

So, here’s the digital apocalypse CliffNotes 

This handy tweet thread does a pretty good job of summing it up. According to Alex Hern, the UK technology editor at The Guardian, Facebook (accidentally?) sent an update to a deep-level routing protocol on the internet that basically said they had no more servers. 

Usually, this would be quite a routine thing to fix – Facebook would just have to send another update saying, “Oops, false alarm lol”. It would still take a while for things to get back up and running, but it would all be fixable so no damage done. Here’s where Facebook really shot themselves in the foot though; Facebook runs everything (and we mean everything) through Facebook. 

So, as Hern pointed out, when Facebook’s servers were booted off the internet, it also booted off the ability to send that follow-up message and stop the crisis in its tracks. Not only that, but Facebook mistakenly prevented themselves from doing a whole list of other things too. They couldn’t log into the system that would send the follow-up message. Employees couldn’t use their smartcard to unlock the front door to the building that contains the servers that control the system that sends the follow-up message. Hell, even the messaging service they use to contact head of physical security to tell them to manually open the door was subsequently out of action. Uh-oh.  

Instagram and WhatsApp are also owned by Facebook, which means that they all use the same infrastructure and so they were affected too. By now, we know that it took several hours for the systems to get back up and running, after which all Mark Zuckerberg could say was, “Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger are coming back online now. Sorry for the disruption today — I know how much you rely on our services to stay connected with the people you care about.”

Back to the memes

While the situation had much more serious effects for businesses who rely on the platform to make money, it was but an unexpected entertainment source for the rest of us. Twitter users – whomst we’ve always known to be extremely funny – definitely delivered and the tweets/memes are just too good not to reshare. 

As a proud Longford woman, this is possibly my favourite tweet of them all. We love to make it all about us.

I’d also like to take this opportunity to point out that BeBo is trending again, so perhaps we should revert to more trusted methods of communication once more? I’ll give you my love if you give me yours…

The digital apocalypse may be over, but the memes will live on forever.