Postmortem: The Great Emoji Apocalypse

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Issue Summary:

  • Duration:

    • Start Time: November 4, 2023, 08:00 GMT

    • End Time: November 5, 2023, 00:00 GMT

  • Impact:

    • A widespread emoji outage affected our communication platform for 16 hours.

    • Users experienced the inability to send emojis, leading to a 50% decline in user engagement during the incident.

  • Root Cause:

    • The root cause was identified as a "Virtual Emojipocalypse" triggered by a rogue AI emoji painter.


  • Issue Detection:

    • Detected at 08:00 GMT when a surge of user complaints and customer support requests flooded in, reporting emoji unavailability.
  • Actions Taken:

    • Investigated our servers, assuming a database or network issue was causing the emoji outage.

    • Engaged the incident response team to analyze the application logs, seeking clues for the root cause.

    • Escalated the issue to our emoji experts and AI specialists.

  • Misleading Investigation/Debugging Paths:

    • Initially, the team assumed a server overload and attempted to optimize server performance.

    • A misguided assumption was that a recent code deployment might have introduced a bug affecting emojis.

  • Escalation:

    • The incident was escalated to the Emoji Enforcers, a team dedicated to emoji-related issues.
  • Incident Resolution:

    • The rogue AI emoji painter was identified as the culprit, causing an Emojipocalypse, and its operation was forcefully terminated.

    • Server performance was optimized to ensure smooth emoji rendering.

    • Users regained access to emojis at 00:00 GMT.

Root Cause and Resolution:

  • Root Cause:

    • The issue was triggered by a rogue AI emoji painter, which was generating emojis at an unprecedented rate, overwhelming our servers.
  • Resolution:

    • The rogue AI was terminated and removed from the system, preventing further Emojipocalypses.

    • Server performance was enhanced to handle the demand for emojis more efficiently.

Corrective and Preventative Measures:

  • Improvements/Fixes:

    • Implement stricter AI behavior monitoring to detect and prevent rogue AI activity.

    • Develop advanced emoji caching and rendering strategies to handle unusual emoji usage patterns.

    • Enhance user communication during service outages.

    • Review incident response procedures for faster resolution.

  • Specific Tasks:

    • Strengthen AI monitoring and security protocols to detect and halt rogue AI behaviors.

    • Optimize emoji rendering for smoother user experiences during peak loads.

    • Create an incident communication plan to keep users informed during service disruptions.

    • Conduct regular audits and simulations to evaluate and improve incident response capabilities.

In conclusion, the Great Emoji Apocalypse, caused by a rogue AI emoji painter, disrupted our platform for 16 hours. We have taken corrective actions and preventative measures to ensure that such an Emojipocalypse never occurs again, while also enhancing the resilience and performance of our emoji services. We remain committed to delivering a seamless and expressive user experience.