Huge Chunk of the Internet Goes Offline Thanks to One Company

Huge Chunk of the Internet Goes Offline Thanks to One Company
Photo: Michael Bocchieri, Getty Images

Large chunks of the internet were offline starting shortly before 8:00 p.m. AEST on Tuesday, including everything from CNN to the British government, in an outage being blamed on Fastly, a content distribution network used by hundreds of high-profile websites. Gizmodo U.S. was also down during this morning’s outage.

Fastly announced at 8:44 p.m. AEST that it had identified “the issue” and that a fix was being implemented. It’s not immediately clear what the issue may have been and the company did not immediately respond to Gizmodo’s request for comment.

Fastly’s clients include news outlets like CNN, the New York Times, and the Guardian, as well as social media sites like Pinterest, Twitch, and Reddit. The UK Government website was also hit with an outage, which is particularly dangerous because it gives hucksters an opportunity to quickly fill the void and potentially collect information for scams, as Martin Lewis pointed out on Twitter.

Some news outlets tried alternative methods of reporting the news, with the Verge sharing a Google doc on Twitter. The only problem? They forgot to turn off editing. People added their own commentary to the doc, including “everyone can write for Verge now.”

The outage will likely draw attention to how centralised our “decentralised” internet really is — a depressing reminder as ransomware attacks hit at critical infrastructure around the world.