Chaos erupted on the internet this morning, as Facebook, Instagram, and Whatsapp all went down for several hours. From around 6:30 a.m. ET to approximately 9 a.m. ET, thousands of users were unable to access Facebook or Instagram and were unable to send or receive Whatsapp messages.
According to the website downdetector.com, which tracks live outages, the problems happened mainly in Europe and in the Northeastern U.S. At the peak of the outage, nearly 15,000 people reported issues accessing the Facebook website, with 51% of users reporting they were unable to access their newsfeed, 24% reporting they were unable to log in, and 23% reporting a total blackout of the site.
As of writing, Facebook has not put out a message on its official Twitter account. But the company did give a statement to the media: “Earlier today, some people may have experienced trouble connecting to the family of apps,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement to The Verge. “The issue has since been resolved; we’re sorry for any inconvenience.” No further explanation for the outage has been given.
The reaction among users has been one of annoyance and frustration, especially at the lack of communication. Last month similar problems caused Facebook to go down for its longest ever outage, being down for 14 hours. Facebook eventually made a statement on Twitter about that outage, saying: “Yesterday, as a result of a server configuration change, many people had trouble accessing our apps and services. We’ve now resolved the issues and our systems are recovering. We’re very sorry for the inconvenience and appreciate everyone’s patience.”
But this was not enough to quell the anger of many users who rely on the service for communications. Facebook’s market dominance has become a problem for the company in terms of outages, as people have become accustomed to being able to use the service at any time of night or day and are reliant on it for contacting family or friends.
These problems could become even worse as Facebook plans to merge its service with WhatsApp and Instagram. This morning the world got a taste of what it could be like if all three of these services went down together, and people weren’t happy.