SOCIAL MEDIA

WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram down today: what's happened and what is wrong?

Three of the biggest social media sites have suffered outages, leaving users unable to log on or send messages in Facebook's latest technical disruption.

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WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram down today: what's happened and what is wrong?
LIONEL BONAVENTURE AFP

A number of social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp have been hit by an outage which has made them inaccessible for millions of users around the world, including in the United States and United Kingdom.

At around 12 noon Eastern Time users began reporting that the platforms had gone down. Instagram was displaying a ‘5xx server error message,’ while those trying to log onto Facebook were hit with a webpage telling them: “Sorry, something went wrong.”

In response to the sudden outage, Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone confirmed: “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.”

What has caused the Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp outage?

No reason has yet been given for the mysterious disappearance of some of the world’s most popular social networking platforms, something that is not uncommon when similar glitches have appeared in the past. Facebook, the media conglomerate which owns Instagram and WhatsApp, amongst others, is often reluctant to explain the reason for even brief outages.

A fairly major disruption in 2019 was explained as a result of vague “routine maintenance operations” which had apparently “triggered an issue” in the platform’s technology. However The Verge has previously made public a leaked transcript in which Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg describes any breaks in service as “a big deal,” warning colleagues that it can result in a loss of trust in the platform.

When will WhatsApp and Instagram be available again?

Although under the control of Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram also use their official Twitter accounts to keep in touch with users and have done so in the last hour to inform people of the nature of their disruption.

As with Facebook, both remained tight-lipped on the exact source of the problems but promised that everything was being done to get the platforms back online as quickly as possible.

WhatsApp’s official Twitter account confirmed: “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,” adding, “Thanks for your patience!”

Instagram posted a similar update for users: “Instagram and friends are having a little bit of a hard time right now, and you may be having issues using them,” the platform wrote online. “Bear with us, we’re on it!”

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