WASHINGTON, September 4, 2014 – Social media darling Facebook briefly crashed Wednesday afternoon, flipping out users of the popular site.
The site went down around or somewhat after 3:00 p.m. EDT, with downtimes estimated to have been between 20 minutes and an hour. At approximately 3:45 p.m., users attempting to access Facebook got the following terse message:
“Sorry, something went wrong. We’re working on getting this fixed as soon as we can.”
One disgruntled but witty user tweeted a brief but pointedly funny video providing his impression of the apparently widespread outage:
— Darth Vader (@DepressedDarth) September 3, 2014
Such outages at major services are fortunately rare. However, as Deadline Hollywood: Business noted:
Facebook had an hour-long global outage in early August and was down for about 20 minutes on June 19. No, it’s not an earthshaking event — and Twitter is already filled with joking tweets about whether workplace productivity increased, or Facebook users struggled to deal with other people face-to-face. But outages like this have to be worrisome to investors who wonder whether the company’s becoming overvalued with shares trading more than 82 times earnings. Last week Janney Capital Markets’ Tony Wible downgraded Facebook to Neutral, saying that buyers are “continually expecting [Facebook] to beat” earning estimates — and could easily become disillusioned if the company failed to deliver. Shares fell 1.1% [Wednesday].
According to a brief online report by the New York Daily News, a “Facebook spokesman said the outage occurred during an ‘infrastructure configuration’ change.”
Fortunately for shareholders, Facebook’s stock has recovered Wednesday’s loss as of mid-morning Thursday.
But, given the earlier August outage and the epidemic of likely rogue government- or terrorist-supported financial hacking that has increased dramatically in frequency, web sites, services, and commercial and financial enterprises as well as the Federal government must step up their efforts to insulate key online systems from both internally caused failures and intentional sabotage.