WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook down for hours in global outage

·3-min read
(Nick Ansell/PA) (PA Archive)
(Nick Ansell/PA) (PA Archive)

WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook have been down for several hours – with users across the globe experiencing issues on the social media platforms.

The sites confirmed on Twitter that they were aware of issues and were working to resolve them after thousands of people reported outages shortly before 5pm on Monday.

Data on the web service monitoring platform DownDetector showed that almost 50,000 people had reported the outages on Facebook.

Most complaints cited issues with the website (72%), while others were linked to issues with the server connection and the app.

Moe than 75,000 had complained about WhatsApp, with 43% reporting issues with the app itself, while 28% cited the server connection and 28% relating to sending messages.

More than 30,000 Instagram users also had similar complaints, with 51% relating to the app, 26% over the server connection and 23% citing the website.

A graph on the DownDetector website showed a clear spike from after 4pm.

Facebook’s share price plummeted 4.9% amid the outage, which also came the day after a whistleblower claimed in a US interview that the company prioritises its own interests over the public good.

Whatsapp said on Twitter: “We’re aware that some people are experiencing issues with WhatsApp at the moment.

“We’re working to get things back to normal and will send an update here as soon as possible. Thanks for your patience.”

Instagram said: “Instagram and friends are having a little bit of a hard time right now, and you may be having issues using them. Bear with us, we’re on it.”

A Facebook company spokesperson said: “We’re aware that some people are having trouble accessing our apps and products.

“We’re working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible, and we apologise for any inconvenience.”

Cyber security specialist Jake Moore said there is a “chance” the issue could be related to a cyber attack.

He told the PA news agency: “There have been many reports and I’m struggling to find out exactly what has happened- I’m reading it could be DNS related, which means there is an issue with the connection not knowing where to go to your device.

“It could well be a human error or a software bug lurking in the shadows but whatever it is Facebook needs to do its best to mitigate the problem of causing more panic about this.

“The biggest problem is fears over a cyber attack but as we saw from Fastly in the summer I would hedge my bets on that not being the case as we’re talking about one of the biggest companies in the world, but there’s always a chance.”

Adam Leon Smith, of BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT and a software testing expert, said: “The outage is caused by changes made to the Facebook network infrastructure.

“Many of the recent high-profile outages have been caused by similar network level events.

“It is reported by unidentified Facebook sources on Reddit that the network changes have also prevented engineers from remotely connecting to resolve the issues, delaying resolution.

“Notably, many organisations now define their physical infrastructure as code, but most do not apply the same level of testing rigour when they change that code, as they would when changing their core business logic.”

The official Twitter account humorously tweeted: “Hello literally everyone.”

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