Facebook Fixed by the Old 'Turn It Off, Turn It Back On' Trick

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Yesterday, Facebook went down for few hours, its worst outage since the site's early days. Because Facebook is not Twitter and we're unaccustomed to service disruptions, much ink was spilled over the incident. Given such a big problem, herculean programming fixes must have been required to restore the site, right? Actually, no, the Guardian's Charles Arthur reports:

Ever been on the phone to IT support and they told you to turn it off and then on again, and that sorts it out? Facebook last night had that sort of problem. So they turned the site off and on again. And it fixed their problem. Literally.

As Robert Johnson, its director of software engineering, explained in a slightly shamefaced blogpost, the site was offline for about two-and-a-half hours - its worst outage in four years - due to some technical changes that Facebook had made.

Read the full story at the Guardian.

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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com, where he also oversees the Technology Channel. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science Web site in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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