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Why does the internet keep breaking?

I doubt Mark Zuckerberg reads the comments people leave on his Facebook posts.

But, if he did, it would take him approximately 145 days, without sleep, to wade through the deluge of comments left for him after he apologised for the meltdown of services last week.

“Sorry for the disruption today” the Facebook founder and chief executive posted, following almost six hours of Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram being offline.

Facebook blamed a routine maintenance job for the disruption – its engineers had issued a command that unintentionally disconnected Facebook data centres from the wider internet.

Around 827,000 people responded to Mr Zuckerberg’s apology.

The messages ranged from the amused: “It was terrible, I had to talk to my family,” commented one Italian user, to the confused: “I took my phone into the repair shop thinking it was broken,” wrote someone from Namibia.

And, of course, the very upset and angry: “You cannot have everything shut down at the same time. The impact is unprecedented,” one Nigerian businessman posted. Another from India asked for compensation for the disruption to their business.

What is clear now, if it wasn’t obvious already, is just how reliant billions of people have become on these services – not just for fun but also for essential communication and trading.

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