Facebook denies end to ‘WFH forever’ rule in wake of mega outage

Is the era of hybrid working coming to at an end for Facebook employees? That’s the suggestion of a report detailing a full return to the office for all of the social media staffers — a report Facebook tells TechRadar is categorically wrong.

Wrestling with the changing nature of office work after the COVID-19 outbreak, Facebook offered a “WFH forever” approach last year, as detailed by Mark Zuckerberg in May of 2020 during a livestream on his personal Facebook page.

“I think that it’s possible that over the next five to 10 years – maybe closer to 10 than five, but somewhere in that range – I think we could get to about half of the company working remotely permanently,” Zuckerberg said. A Daily Mail report Thursday claimed that Facebook was ending this policy completely – a report Facebook tells TechRadar is flat out wrong.

“The Daily Mail article is completely inaccurate,” a company representative told us. “There has not been a change to our policy. As we announced in August, we are working to return our teams safely back to the office in January 2022.”

The news came days after Facebook suffered a major outage, which the Daily Mail suggested would have been a lot less devastating had people been in its American headquarters.

Some reports claimed company keycards were also knocked offline, meaning employees were unable to gain access to the offices or the server rooms – with some claiming employees were forced to, quite literally, break in. In other words, the outage didn’t just take down Facebook’s website, along with Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp, but it also affected company resources.

Relying on internal servers

The largest tech companies have wrestled for months with how best to handle employees who either prefer to work from home or simply aren’t allowed to return to offices yet. Google employees now have to apply to work from home, for example, while both Amazon and Apple expect the bulk of their workforce to return to the office in January 2022.

Explaining the root causes of the outage, Facebook said the worldwide disruption to its services was caused by ‘configuration changes on the backbone routers that coordinate network traffic between our data centers.’ 

The outage lasted for seven hours, also knocking out businesses who rely on Facebook and Instagram.

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