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The Week We Searched For- September 24, 2010

Facebook Experiences Largest Outage Ever

Facebook experienced two major outages this week, one of which lasted over two hours. According to Facebook’s official blog [1], the outage was caused by a database glitch.  The post explains, “The key flaw that caused this outage to be so severe was an unfortunate handling of an error condition. An automated system for verifying configuration values ended up causing much more damage than it fixed.”

The database glitch was unfortunately only half of Facebook’s problem on Thursday. According to Facebook, “To make matters worse, every time a client got an error attempting to query one of the databases it interpreted it as an invalid value, and deleted the corresponding cache key. This meant that even after the original problem had been fixed, the stream of queries continued. As long as the databases failed to service some of the requests, they were causing even more requests to themselves. We had entered a feedback loop that didn’t allow the databases to recover.” In order to stop this cycle, Facebook had to shut down the site and stop traffic to the database cluster.

Mark Zuckerberg Is Rich

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg ranked 35th on this year’s Forbes 400 list [2] of richest Americans with an estimated worth of $6.9 billion, moving quickly up the list from 158th last year. At the age of 26 Zuckerberg was one of the youngest professionals on the list.

In other Zuckerberg news, the young billionaire will announce today on the Oprah Winfrey Show his plans to donate $100 million to the Newark, New Jersey public school system.

F.C.C. Opens Unused T.V. Airways

The Federal Communications Commission approved a proposal this week that will enable high-speed wireless broadband networks to access currently unused television airways. Google [3], Dell and Microsoft have already come out in support of the measure. Richard Whitt, telecommunications and media counsel in Google’s Washington office, wrote in a post on the company’s public policy blog, “Today’s order finally sets the stage for the next generation of wireless technologies to emerge and is an important victory for Internet users across the country.” [4] To read more on the possible benefits and challenges of the new policy, check out Edward Wyatt’s article [5] on the New York Times technology blog.

YouTube Wins Copyright Ruling in Spain

A federal court in Spain dismissed charges against YouTube of copyright infringement, which had been brought to court by the Spanish broadcaster Telecino. Aaron Ferstman, YouTube’s head of communications for Europe, wrote a blog post in response to the ruling stating, “More than 24 hours of video are loaded onto YouTube every minute. If Internet sites had to screen all videos, photos and text before allowing them on a Web site, many popular sites — not just YouTube, but Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and others — would grind to a halt.” [6] The decision marks YouTube’s second copyright victory in the last couple of months.


Eric Schmidt on The Colbert Report

In case you missed it, Google CEO Eric Schmidt appeared on The Colbert Report. Stephen Colbert took some expected jabs at Schmidt during the interview, touching on Google’s relationship with China, the power of Google’s algorithm and questions of personal privacy. To read the full transcript, check out Danny Sullivan’s post on Search Engine Land. [7]

About Camille Canon

Outside of summer jobs and not-for-profit internships, The Search Agency is my first official place of employment. I recently graduated from Mount Holyoke College, where I studied Art History and German. I am an avid cook, baker, and destroyer of diets. My specialties are cream cheese brownies, biscotti cookies and lemon bars. I am also an Art enthusiast. Living in Berlin enables me to follow a young, emerging Art scene complete with “eccentric” performance pieces and temporarily converted butcher shop galleries. I also enjoy running, traveling, and handy work. Camille Canon + [13]