Still reeling from the Great Facebook Blackout of 2021? Turns out Zuck is not the worst offender

Uswitch's survey may surprise you – or not. Depends how much you like Reddit


UK-based price comparision and broadband swapping service Uswitch has totted up the figures and come up with a surprising candidate for most outage incidents in 2021.

Outages are a tricky thing to quantify, and the metric used by Uswitch was a simple count of the most visited websites against a total number of incidents reported by DownDetector. The "visited website" metric ruled out the likes of Azure and AWS, although both services lurk behind the scenes. However, hotspots like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok all qualified.

At 180 incidents, according to Uswitch, Reddit was head and shoulders ahead of the pack. A whopping 60 per cent of issues were related to forum's app. Following, at 107 incidents, was Discord (server connection woes afflicted 73 per cent of blackouts), just snatching second place from Instagram. The food and lifestyle happy snapper accounted for 106 incidents (the app accounted for 55 per cent of problems).

Close to Instagram was its big brother Facebook's website, with 95 outages (of which its website accounted for 49 per cent).

However, a count of incidents does not really tell the whole story, and there was no indication from Uswitch which of Facebook's 95 borks was the big one that took out WhatsApp and Instagram in the blast radius and left the world bereft of angry uncle posts and shots of dinner plates for a happy few hours. The Register asked Uswitch for a breakdown by duration.

It told us: "The data we collected is the average count of outages. Unfortunately, the data for how long the outages lasted is not readily available, and trying to create stats from what we do have I believe will not be accurate enough to run with."

WhatsApp itself was in the better-behaved end of the table, with a mere 34 outages, just above TikTok's 30. The video streamers also fared better than social media, with Netflix and YouTube tied at 44 outages.

And as for that bastion of whingeing when things go wrong, Twitter, Uswitch put it quite some way behind Facebook and a gnat's whisker ahead of YouTube at 50 incidents.

While enterprises have service level agreements in place to punish providers for outages (although rarely more than a simple credit rather than the actual cost of lost business), consumers are not so fortunate. What does one get for handing over all that personal data? An outage-prone service, it appears. ®

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