Facebook, Instagram suffer over-2-hour outage

Users locked out of accounts and feeds, Threads fails to refresh

The Facebook logo is seen on a cell phone in Boston, October 14, 2022. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)
The Facebook logo is seen on a cell phone in Boston, October 14, 2022. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)

Meta-owned Facebook and Instagram were back up on Tuesday after a more than two-hour outage that was caused by a technical issue and impacted hundreds of thousands of users globally.

Andy Stone, Meta’s head of communications, acknowledged the issues on X, formerly known as Twitter, and said the company “resolved the issue as quickly as possible for everyone who was impacted, and we apologize for any inconvenience.”

At the peak of the outage, there were more than 550,000 reports of disruptions for Facebook and about 92,000 for Instagram, according to outage tracking website Downdetector.com.

Users reported being locked out of their Facebook accounts and feeds on the platform, as well as Threads and Instagram failing to refresh. WhatsApp, which is also owned by Meta, appeared unaffected.

Several employees of Meta said on anonymous messaging app Blind that they were unable to log in to their internal work systems, which left them wondering if they were laid off, according to posts seen by Reuters.

A senior official with the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency told reporters Tuesday that the agency was “not aware of any specific election nexus nor any specific malicious cyber activity nexus to the outage.”

People talk near a Meta sign outside of the company’s headquarters in Menlo Park, California, March 7, 2023. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

The outage comes just ahead of Thursday’s deadline for Big Tech companies to comply with the European Union’s new Digital Markets Act. To comply, Meta is making changes, like allowing users to separate their Facebook and Instagram accounts so personal information can’t be combined to target them with online ads. It’s not clear whether the outage is connected to any preparations Meta might be carrying out for the DMA.

The technical issue was among the top trending topics on X, with the platform’s owner Elon Musk taking a shot at Meta with a post that said: “If you’re reading this post, it’s because our servers are working.”

Meta, whose shares were down 1.2 percent in afternoon trading, did not immediately respond to a request seeking more details on the technical problem.

The company has about 3.19 billion daily active users across its family of apps, which also includes WhatsApp and Threads.

In 2021, Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp were down for hours, an outage the company said was a result of faulty changes on routers that coordinate network traffic between its data centers. The next year, WhatsApp had another brief outage.

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