Breaking: Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp down for the first time in 2021 - Here is why

Breaking: Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp down for the first time in 2021 – Here is why

Are you wondering why Facebook is not working? Facebook-owned properties, including Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger, were hit by sweeping outages Monday. The Social media apps crash for frustrated users worldwide

They’re some of the most popular social media apps around the world, but it appears Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger have all crashed.

According to DownDetector, the issues started at around 16:44 BST (11:44 ET), and are affecting all users. By 17:24 BST over 50,000 people had reported issues.

The three social media services, all owned by Facebook, run on a shared back end infrastructure, and other Facebook-owned services are also down, including Facebook Workplace and the Oculus website.

There have been a number of social media outages in recent months, with Instagram going down for 16 hours just last month, and all Facebook platforms down in June.

Soon after the first report came through, the hashtag #facebookdown was trending on Twitter, with users worldwide reporting issues connecting.

On Twitter, Facebook communications executive, Andy Stone said they were aware some people were having trouble accessing Facebook apps and products.

‘We’re working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible, and we apologize for any inconvenience,’ the executive said in a tweet.

They’re some of the most popular social media apps around the world, but it appears that Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger have all crashed this afternoon

The three social media services, all owned by Facebook, run on a shared back end infrastructure, and other Facebook-owned services are also down, including Facebook Workplace and the Oculus website

The three social media services, all owned by Facebook, run on a shared back end infrastructure, and other Facebook-owned services are also down, including Facebook Workplace and the Oculus website

On Twitter, Facebook communications executive, Andy Stone said they were aware some people were having trouble accessing Facebook apps and products

On Twitter, Facebook communications executive, Andy Stone said they were aware some people were having trouble accessing Facebook apps and products

The various Facebook owned platforms, including WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook itself, took to Twitter to explain the issues and say they were working on a solution

The various Facebook owned platforms, including WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook itself, took to Twitter to explain the issues and say they were working on a solution

RECENT FACEBOOK OUTAGES

Last month, a technical issue with Facebook owned Instagram caused an outage that plagued users around the world for 16 hours.

Problems started just after 8am on Thursday. About 18 hours later, at 2am on Friday, Instagram announced the problem had been fixed.

However, the last time Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp went down at the same time was in June.

In June more than a thousand people in countries including the United States, Morocco, Mexico, Bolivia and Brazil reported outages.

There were also two Facebook platform outages in March, with Instagram down on March 30, and all three down on March 19.

The hashtag #instagramisdown and WhatsApp were both also trending on Twitter, with a number of users saying they checked their internet connection when they couldn’t get on Facebook.

Instagram comms tweeted: ‘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!’

WhatsApp tweeted: ‘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!’

Even Oculus, the virtual reality gaming platform owned by Facebook was having problems, with one user describing their headset as being ‘like a paperweight’.

Oculus tweeted: ‘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 apologize for any inconvenience.’

Every time Facebook and Instagram are down, it draws people to Twitter, with one user sharing a meme of Homer Simpson jumping from his house to Moe’s bar, with the Twitter logo over the door.

Even Google got in on the action, tweeting: ‘Everyone going to Google to check if Instagram is down.’

There were multiple jokes along the same lines, with one showing a fast track race and the caption: ‘Me and my friends running to twitter to see if fb, whatsapp and insta are down.’

Users around the world reported problems with Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp on Downdetector

Users around the world reported problems with Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp on Downdetector

According to DownDetector, the issues started at around 16:44 BST (11:44 ET), and are affecting users globally.

According to DownDetector, the issues started at around 16:44 BST (11:44 ET), and are affecting users globally.

It is unclear what has caused the issue, although it has disrupted all Facebook owned platforms, including the Oculus Virtual Reality gaming website.

NetBlocks, which tracks internet outages, tweeted: ‘Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger are currently experiencing outages in multiple countries.’

Adding that the ‘incident not related to country-level internet disruptions or filtering.’

When attempting to visit Instagram using a desktop web browser, it gives up a ‘5xx Server Error’ and Facebook simply says ‘this site can’t be reached.’

There were multiple jokes along the same lines, with one showing a fast track race and the caption: 'Me and my friends running to twitter to see if fb, whatsapp and insta are down'

There were multiple jokes along the same lines, with one showing a fast track race and the caption: ‘Me and my friends running to twitter to see if fb, whatsapp and insta are down’

Soon after the first report came through, the hashtag #facebookdown was trending on Twitter, with users worldwide reporting issues connecting

The last major outage of Facebook platforms was in June 2021, when people in the US, Morocco, Mexico and Brazil all reported not being able to connect.

However, there were also problems last month, when Instagram went down for a whopping 16 hours.

Jake Moore, cybersecurity specialist at ESET said outages are increasing in volume and are becoming increasingly harder to predict.

He said initially, a major problem with a website or app can point towards a cyber attack – but that can add to confusion and be misleading.

‘With recent issues such as what happened with Fastly [the web service platform that saw a major global outage on June 8] it highlights the power of an undiscovered software bug or even human error,’ Moore explained.

‘Although these are increasing in frequency and require more failsafes in place, predicting these issues is increasingly more difficult as it was never thought possible before. Luckily, most outages only last under an hour.’

NetBlocks, which tracks internet outages, tweeted: 'Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger are currently experiencing outages in multiple countries'

NetBlocks, which tracks internet outages, tweeted: ‘Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger are currently experiencing outages in multiple countries’

Breaking: Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp down for the first time in 2021 - Here is why

This latest outage highlights the major issues with using centralized systems, according to Matthew Hodgson, Co-founder and CEO of Element and Technical Co-founder of Matrix.

“The ongoing outage of WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook (including Facebook Messenger and Facebook Workplace) highlights that global outages are one of the major downsides of a centralized system,’ he said.

Centralized apps, like having a single back end for Facebook products, means putting ‘all the eggs in one basket,’ Hodgson explained.

‘Decentralised systems are far more reliable. There’s no single point of failure so they can withstand significant disruption and still keep people and businesses communicating.’

The cause to why Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp is down is not known yet.

 

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