Friday, Dec 01, 2023

Whatsapp Outage: Amazon To Google, 5 Biggest Blackouts That Sent Netizens Scrambling For Memes

Whatsapp Outage: Amazon To Google, 5 Biggest Blackouts That Sent Netizens Scrambling For Memes

Whatsapp services were restored for some users after the unexplained disruption that last over an hour. But the memes spawned by the blackout will remain on the internet forever.

Memes flooded the internet after today's Whatsapp malfunction.
Memes flooded the internet after today's Whatsapp malfunction. Twitter (Screengrab)

After what is being touted as its longest-ever global outage, popular messaging app WhatsApp resumed services after over an hour of disruption. During the outage on Tuesday, users from India UK to India reported that they were unable to send and receive text and video messages.

The services were restored for some users after the unexplained disruption that last over an hour. The resumption of service was confirmed by several users.

After the snag hit, Meta which owns WhatsApp, said it is working to restore services. Downdetector reported a significant rise in complaints around Whatsapp outage. Nearly 29,000 reports were flagged by users. Downdetector's heatmap was showing WhatsApp users in major cities, including Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Kolkata were impacted by the disruption. 

#Whatsappdown was trending on Twitter, and many users took to the microblogging platform to share funny memes on the issue.

With millions of users worldwide, a power outage impacts not just WhatsApp's sales but also impacts the lives of users who use it on a day to day basis to perform simple tasks. This however is not the first time that internet or social media platforms and messaging services have snagged. 

Here are the top 5 power outages faced by social media and internet companies in the recent past: 

1. 2020 Google server crash 

While parts of the world was living through the Covid-19 induced lockdown, Google's severs crashed in December 2020, leading to worldwide chaos for a brief few moments.

The 2020 Google server crash was a widely reported phenomenon since at the time, large parts of the world population was working from home and depended on the internet for connectivity. The crash led to the disruption of several popular services like YouTube, Gmail, Google Drive, and Google Meet among others. The blackout lasted for nearly 45 minutes. 

The crash was later attributed to an internal storage quota issue. Investigations found that the crash took place due to a malfunction in the system responsible for allocating storage to each of Google’s services which had reached the threshold of its storage capacity.

The incident led to some hilarious memes across the world. 

2. 2019 Facebook blackout

Not a stranger to technical snags, Facebook has had its fair share of outages since it became public in 2006. But the 2019 outage is definitely considered one of its worst. DownDetector reported that the incident, which occurred on March 13, 2019, impacted 7.5 million users around the world. The outage occurred throughout the Asia Pacific and South American region as well as in North America and Europe. As a consequence of the blackout, services like the Facebook app, WhatsApp and Instagram were down nearly 12. Some users at the time reported being impacted by the disruption of Facebook services for over a day and a half. The blackout was dubbed the longest ever in Facebook's history at the time. 

3. 2017 Whatsapp outage 

In 2017, Whatsapp users reported two outages in August and September when the services with services allegedly being disrupted for over an hour in both instances. The first occurred on August 31, as per a report by TechCrunch while the second occurred in November as reported by global news agency Reuters. While the former was longer, the latter lasted for about 30 minutes to an hour for users in nations like Singapore and Malaysia. WhatsApp did not provided any clarity regarding what caused the outages. The outages were not reported on the platform's social media handles either. 

4. 2017 Snapchat crash

Snapchat, the image sharing app, faced a massive power outage in November 2017 when the platform stopped functioning for over four hours. The blackout impacted over 1.8 million worldwide users. During that span, users were not able to log in to their accounts or post or access any images. Devastated teens around the world took to social media and shared memes and jokes to express their sorrows at not breaking their 'streaks. (Streaks represent the number of consecutive days two Snapchat users have sent Snaps to each other without break). At the time, reports claimed that the company had been facing issues for a month before the crash. 

5. 2017 Amazon crash

The year 2017 seems to have been a tough year for tech companies with not just messaging and social media services but also companies like Amazon reporting technical snags. The massive 2017 Amazon Web Services blackout which resulted from a server crash led to disruption of several websites including Quora, Business Insider, messaging services like Slack and others associated with AWS. The crash occurred after Amazon’s S3 web storage service reportedly started experiencing unprecedented error rates, causing partial or full outages for the websites. According to a report by DataCentreKnowledge, Amazon had stated that the outage that "broke the internet" was caused due to a mistyped command. 

It later turned out the outage, which resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in losses for AWS customers and those relying on third-party services hosted by AWS, had been caused by a human billing error. The engineer responsible for the expensive mistake meant to execute a command that would remove only a small number of servers running one of the S3 subsystems. However, one of the inputs was entered incorrectly and a "larger set of servers was removed than intended", Amazon said later. 

The incident led to some wholesome memes though. 

(With inputs from PTI)