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The Day Facebook Died: Hong Kong Technology Blogger Shares His Scary Story

June 20th 2014

At approximately 3:50pm yesterday, the world as we’ve come to know it ceased to exist. Facebook went down! As Hong Kong went into panic mode, some speculated that the outage was due to a cyber-attack by Occupy Central, while others took to Twitter to share their fears using the ‘facebookdown‘ hashtag. Technology blogger Christian Chang, who was particularly shaken by the unfathomable event, shared his experience with Localiiz.

Yesterday started off like any other day. The sweaty walk to work, the faked enthusiasm for my job. Following a particularly productive session of arbitrarily moving the cursor round in Excel, I decided to reward myself with an afternoon tea break. After clicking on my familiar Facebook bookmark, suddenly the unthinkable occurred:

Having established that pressing the refresh button as fast as I could wasn’t cutting it, and neither did a reboot (how those IT people lie), it was time to do what any reasonable person would do…. panic.

Without an outlet for my inner monologue, my thoughts were becoming jumbled, my recollection of the photos from Saturday’s junk fading in my memory. Was I tagged in 3 or 4? Oh God. I couldn’t remember anymore. How had this happened? Didn’t Facebook have more than one server? I realised this wasn’t the time to get technical.

A cursory search of Google (at least someone knows how to keep a service running), proved that my experiences weren’t unique. The outage was Global. Still, it seemed prudent to check with friends that they too were sharing the pain, and yes…confirmation came swiftly that we were all in the same boat. Like any self-respecting person, I quickly dismissed the prospect of logging onto Google + as a viable option, and begrudgingly went back to work.

As the cursor whipped around my spreadsheet with feigned purpose, I found myself contemplating a world without Facebook. What did my friends eat for lunch? Would I ever be invited to anything again? Would poking someone in real life ever be as satisfying? And I realised then that the world is a fragile place. That which we love can so easily be taken from us.

After 31 minutes, the service was restored, after, what I’m told, was the longest outage in four years of Facebook history. Facebook stock plummeted by 1.23% after the incident, and consumer confidence has undoubtedly been shaken in this most upsetting of events.

How has this affected your social life? Is this the wakeup call we all needed?

“… Okay, let me tell you the difference between Facebook and everyone else: we don’t crash, ever! If those servers are down for even a day, our entire reputation is irreversibly destroyed!

(Jesse Eisenberg as Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network 2010)

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