Facebook lost R40k per second during outage

By Breanna Robinson for Indy 100

Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp all went down on Monday – and it cost Mark Zuckerberg’s company an eye-watering amount every minute.

Unresponsive feeds on these platforms first occurred shortly after noon eastern time, with people facing error pages.

On Monday, YouTuber and podcaster Chris Williamson took to his Twitter to pose the following question about the platform’s earnings: “Can anyone estimate how much money Facebook will be losing per minute while all sites are down?”

In response to this tweet, Twitter account @whatdope offered this estimated amount:

“Last year’s ad revenue (for Facebook’s sites) was $84.2bn. So, for every minute it’s down, they’re losing around $160,000. Or, $2,670 per second,” they wrote.

Fortune also estimated that, as of the time the company announced it was coming back online, Facebook would have lost around $99.75 million in revenue.

The site based the figure on Facebook’s second quarter earnings, which saw revenue of $29.08 billion over a 91-day period. That works out an average of $319.6 million per day or $13.3-million per hour.

That’s a lot of money.

When the outage happened, Andy Stone, a Facebook spokesperson, posted a comment on Twitter apologising for the inconvenience of the app.

“We’re aware that some people are having trouble accessing our apps and products. We’re working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible, and we apologize for any inconvenience,” Stone said in the statement.

Instagram and Twitter also took to their Twitter accounts to update people about the issue.

The widespread disruption was blamed on a “faulty configuration change”, with Facebook saying in a statement: “Our engineering teams have learned that configuration changes on the backbone routers that coordinate network traffic between our data centres caused issues that interrupted this communication.

“This disruption to network traffic had a cascading effect on the way our data centres communicate, bringing our services to a halt.”

Facebook also experienced a significant 14-hour outage in 2019 that cost roughly $90 million.

According to a study by Gartner in 2014, the “average cost of downtime is $5,600 per minute”.

The research organisation also noted that this is also isn’t an exact science as there are multiple factors to consider, such as the size of the company and the company’s catered niche or market.

In 2016, the Ponemon Institute published a report that raised Gartner’s average from $5,600 and close to $9,000 per minute.

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