Ma suggested abandoning leap seconds they cause serious malfunctions

M**a suggested abandoning leap seconds – they cause serious malfunctions in computer systems

Meta* (owns Facebook*Instagram* and WhatsApp) have proposed ending so-called leap seconds, a potentially dangerous practice that the company’s engineers say is causing significant disruption to computer systems around the world.

    Image source: PIRO /

Image source: PIRO /

The leap second is a way of dealing with the effects of a slowdown in the Earth’s rotation caused by melting glaciers and a number of other causes. The leap second was first introduced in 1972, and subsequently responsibility for adding it was entrusted to the International Earth Rotation Service.

meta engineer* Oleg Obleukhov and company researcher Ahmad Byagowi published a message on the company blog, partially stating: “As an industry, we run into problems whenever a leap second is introduced. And because this event is so rare, it depresses the entire community whenever it happens. With the growing demand for high-precision clocks across all industries, the leap second now does more harm than good by causing disruption. [работы систем] and downtime”.

In 2012, the introduction of the leap second caused a severe crash on Reddit’s servers, causing a CPU lock and causing the site to be unavailable for 30-40 minutes. A similar issue was reported by Cloudflare in 2017 – part of the code of its public DNS service did not allow the ability to “reverse time”. Now some tech companies including Meta* and Google decided to tackle the problem with a workaround: the leap second is “smeared” over a longer period of time – in the case of Meta* it’s 17 hours.

27 leap seconds have been introduced since 1972, and it’s possible the practice is yet to end. The International Telecommunication Union has already started to discuss the issue of its abolition, and a detailed report on this issue will be published in 2023.

* It is included in the list of public associations and religious organizations for which the court made a final decision, activities on the grounds of Federal Law No. 114-FZ of July 25, 2002 “On Combating Extremist Activity”.


About the author

Robbie Elmers

Robbie Elmers is a staff writer for Tech News Space, covering software, applications and services.

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