Friday, April 19, 2024
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Meta’s social media platforms blackout left users angry

Facebook, Messenger and Instagram are back online following a 1.5-hour outage that left users worldwide unable to access Meta’s social media platforms. Angry users found themselves suddenly booted out of their accounts, making them think they’d been hacked, and their personal details stolen.

The issues appeared yesterday around 10:20am ET (3:20pm GMT) and impacted both apps and websites although Meta’s WhatsApp was unaffected. Along with the US, the outage reached the UK, parts of Europe, China, Australia and Mexico leading to Meta’s stock price falling.

Users flooded to X (Twitter) to complain about the outage and share memes, to the delight of owner Elon Musk.

A source inside Facebook told that the company’s internal systems were also down, which may have led to the issues.

Down Detector, which monitors online outages, showed hundreds of thousands in the US alone having problems with Facebook and tens of thousands reported the same with Instagram, while Messenger had a few thousand issue reports.

Facebook’s and Messenger’s glitches surfaced when users noticed they were kicked out of their accounts and unable to log back in – even with the right credentials.

Meanwhile, the News Feed on Instagram started showing an error message.

Down Detector’s outage map shows New York City in the red, along with Boston, Chicago and major cities in California. The majority of issue reports cited problems with the apps, 72 percent for Facebook, 64 percent for Instagram and Messenger is at 50 percent.

On Elon Musk’s X, users shared their frustrations and started asking if anyone else in the world had been experiencing the same problems. Some people experiencing issues initially thought their accounts may have been hacked, but there are more than 80,000 posts on X about Facebook and Instagram being down.

Musk has responded to Meta’s outage with a post on X: “If you’re reading this post, it’s because our servers are working.”

Zuckerberg’s venture is one of the most ambitious private construction projects in North American history. also found that two-factor authentication (2FA) which sends an SMS message with a code to a user’s phone for login was not working.

Meta’s service dashboard, which lists its services, has continued to show major disruptions for some feature, but then has switched to ‘Unknown’ for all or completely blank.

While the Facebook insider told the issued stemmed from internal tools, the public has shared their speculations on X. Some have suggested that the outage is a ‘cyberattack’ as it is happening on Super Tuesday, which is when several states are set to hold presidential primaries.

Jake Moore, tech expert and security advisor at ESET, said a cyberattack is unlikely but not impossible. ‘Facebook has a history of going down but this could be for a long list of reasons,’ he told Mail Online.

‘Although highly unlikely to be a cyber-attack it can never be fully ruled out but it is far more likely to be yet another internal network problem.’ While reason for the outage remains unclear, it comes three years after Facebook experienced a seven-hour blackout that cost the company an estimated $100million in lost revenue.

The global outage which hit Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger was caused when a faulty update that disconnected its servers from the internet, meaning engineers had to travel to its Santa Clara data center to fix the glitch in-person.

But the repair was delayed, according to one insider who was posting on Reddit, because of ‘lower staffing in data centers due to pandemic measures’.

The glitch, which prompted calls for a break-up of big tech firms, also brought down messaging services that remote-working staff use to communicate, so those who knew how to fix the servers couldn’t get that information to the teams inside the data-center, the insider said.

Also disabled were key-fob entry systems at Facebook’s main campus in Menlo, meaning those who had been WFH but rushed back to the office could not get inside while those already inside were unable to access conference rooms and other areas that required a pass.


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