Posted: Wed, 10/06/2021 - 4:35 pm EDT
This week Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram went down… and this provides us with a great real world connection to what they’re learning in AP CSP!
Here’s a blogpost from Facebook explaining what happened: https://engineering.fb.com/2021/10/05/networking-traffic/outage-details/
I plan to assign this article to students and have them discuss it in groups using the following questions:
1. DNS/Tech Questions: What is the DNS protocol supposed to do? What went wrong? How? Who (if anyone) was responsible? How was the problem fixed? (Be as specific as possible to demonstrate your understanding of CS concepts as well as this article).
2. Effects of Tech Questions: Who was affected by this outage? How? (Think of as many different groups of people as possible—Google different articles, hashtags, etc, to find even more perspectives!)
3. Potential Regulation: Considering the real communication disconnect that has come from this short outage, and the potential for harm if it had lasted, some have called for increased regulation and oversight for Facebook and other global tech companies. What, if any, role should the government have in regulating and overseeing companies like Facebook in the future? Find a few sources to support your opinions here.
4. Bonus Conspiracy Theory (if time permits): Some say this was great timing for Facebook—distracting the public from a potentially damaging insider report. Look up more about this and discuss! What was the controversial report? Could this have been a way to bury that story? How? Why or why not?