News & Politics

Google Glitch Temporarily Disables Drudge, Breitbart, Other Sites

Beginning at around 3:20 p.m. EST, visitors to Drudge Report and Breitbart were unable to access the sites. Many users of the sites received an error message from Google saying that the “server could not complete your request.”

There were reports of downtimes at Spotify, Snapchat, and CNN as well.

It appears that Google is the likely source of the outages, with problems being reported with Google App Engine, Cloud Networking, and Stackdriver.

Google Cloud Platform reported at 3:34 p.m EST: “We are investigating a problem with Google Cloud Global Loadbalancers returning 502s for many services including AppEngine, Stackdriver, Dialogflow, as well as customer Global Load Balancers.” At 3:53 p.m. they added, “The issue with Google Cloud Load balancers returning 502s should be resolved for majority of users and we expect a full resolution in the near future.”

In another update Google explained:

The issue with Google Cloud Global Load balancers returning 502s has been resolved for all affected users as of 13:05 US/Pacific. We will conduct an internal investigation of this issue and make appropriate improvements to our systems to help prevent or minimize future recurrence. We will provide a more detailed analysis of this incident once we have completed our internal investigation.

According to a user at Quora, a 502 error occurs when a server receives “an invalid response from another server further upstream.”

The outages came on the heels of Monday’s snafu at Amazon, where Prime Day shoppers were unable to access the site. Amazon Web Services customers also experienced problems accessing their accounts.

Both today’s outages at Drudge and Breitbart and yesterday’s Amazon problems highlight the vulnerabilities of cloud servers, as more and more websites are moving to a handful of cloud service providers, some of which (Amazon and Google) have demonstrated a pattern of hostility toward conservative sites.

As a result of that pattern of hostility, it didn’t take long for conspiracy theories about the outages to begin circulating on the Internet. Many conservatives deeply distrust the Big Three online platforms — Google, Facebook, and Twitter — and are quick to cry “censorship” anytime there’s a glitch in the system. The reputations of these companies are under increased scrutiny, especially among conservatives, and thus far they haven’t done much to ameliorate users’ concerns, which results in immediate suspicion anytime a site is down or content is removed.

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