Tech World

What caused the Facebook and Instagram outages? 

This week, both Facebook and Instagram, two social media giants under the umbrella of Meta, encountered technical outages. According to a company spokesperson, the issue was swiftly identified as a “technical glitch” and rectified within a two-hour timeframe.

This occurrence followed a separate communication disruption experienced by AT&T Wireless in late February, although the two incidents appear unrelated. 

Hundreds of thousands of users worldwide found themselves unable to access these platforms for about two hours on Tuesday. 

Downdetector, a platform for tracking outages, reported that around 500,000 users were affected, with Instagram experiencing disruptions affecting about 10% of that total.

During the outage, users attempting to log in encountered error messages and were unable to refresh their feeds as usual. Some Facebook users even reported being involuntarily logged out of their accounts, while others experienced difficulties uploading new posts on either Facebook or Instagram.

Downdetector’s data found a surge in outages around 11:00 a.m. ET, which subsided by the afternoon. The majority of reported issues revolved around login difficulties, with approximately 17% relating to the app itself. 

Downdetector also reported that the outages had global ramifications, affecting users across multiple countries. Meta’s platforms are very popular. Facebook has three billion active monthly users and Instagram is expected to reach 1.4 billion users worldwide by the end of the year.

The outage map shows  New York City, Boston, Chicago, and major cities in California are highlighted in red due to service disruptions. The reported issues are centered around the apps, with 72 percent pertaining to Facebook, 64 percent to Instagram, and Messenger experiencing a 50 percent reporting rate.

Threads, Meta’s response to Twitter, launched in 2023, also reported outages during this period, while WhatsApp, another Meta-owned platform, remained unaffected.

Meta has faced significant outages in the past, notably in 2021 when founder Mark Zuckerberg publicly apologized for a six-hour disruption that affected Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram services.

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