Facebook blames an issue triggered during ‘routine maintenance’

Services on Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp remain down several hours into a worldwide outage affecting the entire ‘family of apps.’ 

Thousands of Instagram users have been unable to post to news feeds, see stories or load content since around 9 a.m. ET. Meanwhile Facebook users say they are having trouble logging in and accessing their feeds, as well as viewing or posting pictures. 

WhatsApp is also failing to send or receive messages, as well as offering a poor connection. A number of users are also unable to log-in.

The mass outage is likely to be linked as Facebook owns Instagram and WhatsApp, and the three share systems across apps.

Facebook first acknowledged the issue around noon (ET) in a brief statement on Twitter, saying it was aware and ‘working to get things back to normal.’

Hours later it elaborated somewhat in a statement to Reuters, saying an internal problem was to blame.

‘During one of our routine maintenance operations, we triggered an issue that is making it difficult for some people to upload or send photos and videos,’ Facebook said Wednesday afternoon. 

But, the sites are still not back to normal function. 

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Those in mainland Europe seem to be hardest hit as well as a smattering of people in the eastern United States. Pictured: Outage map for worldwide Instagram outage reports

Those in mainland Europe seem to be hardest hit as well as a smattering of people in the eastern United States. Pictured: Outage map for worldwide Instagram outage reports

Those in mainland Europe seem to be hardest hit as well as a smattering of people in the eastern United States. Pictured: Outage map for worldwide Instagram outage reports 

Services on Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp remain down several hours into a worldwide outage affecting the entire ¿family of apps'

Services on Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp remain down several hours into a worldwide outage affecting the entire ¿family of apps'

Services on Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp remain down several hours into a worldwide outage affecting the entire ‘family of apps’ 

Those in the UK, US and Europe appear to be hardest hit, though reports have come in from further afield as well, including Australia, Brazil, Colombia, Japan, Mexico, The Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Africa and Uruguay.

Frustrated users have flooded to Twitter – which is fully working – to vent their anger. 

‘We’re aware that some people and businesses are currently having trouble uploading or sending images, videos and other files on our apps,’ a Facebook spokesman said initially after reports of the outage began to pile in.

‘We’re working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible.’ 

Users began to report the issues in their hundreds to outage tracker Down Detector shortly before 2pm BST (9am ET / 6am PT).

Even celebrities got in on the madness as complaints poured across Twitter in the wake of the Facebook outage. Mariah Carey shared a gif poking fun at the outage

Even celebrities got in on the madness as complaints poured across Twitter in the wake of the Facebook outage. Mariah Carey shared a gif poking fun at the outage

Even celebrities got in on the madness as complaints poured across Twitter in the wake of the Facebook outage. Mariah Carey shared a gif poking fun at the outage

 

The numbers have continued to grow ever since.   

Bemused and confused users took to social media to bemoan the outage and ask if others were experiencing any difficulty getting online.  

Briana said: ‘Dear Instagram PLEASE FIX YOUR APP. Your news feed is almost always down. 

‘Please do some major maintenance and fix all your problems!!! UPGRADE YOUR SERVERS TOO!!! – Yours truly one pissed off Instagrammer.’

Eric Norton, from Daytona Beach, Florida, said: ‘It’s going to be one of those days again. #FacebookDown #InstagramDown Guess it’s back to living real life instead…’ 

Issues centre around posting to the news feed, seeing stories and loading content. Pictured: Outage reports for Instagram have grown from hundreds to thousands in the past hour

Issues centre around posting to the news feed, seeing stories and loading content. Pictured: Outage reports for Instagram have grown from hundreds to thousands in the past hour

 Issues centre around posting to the news feed, seeing stories and loading content. Pictured: Outage reports for Instagram have grown from hundreds to thousands in the past hour

Facebook is not faring much better, with reports coming in from 1,200 users complaining that they can't access the social network - a figure that continues to grow

Facebook is not faring much better, with reports coming in from 1,200 users complaining that they can't access the social network - a figure that continues to grow

Facebook is not faring much better, with reports coming in from 1,200 users complaining that they can’t access the social network – a figure that continues to grow

Twitter user @evescenery said: '#instagramdown that¿s it in moving to twitter permanently'

Twitter user @evescenery said: '#instagramdown that¿s it in moving to twitter permanently'

Twitter user @evescenery said: ‘#instagramdown that’s it in moving to twitter permanently’

Briana Taylor took to Twitter to complain. She said: 'Dear Instagram PLEASE FIX YOUR APP. Your news feed is almost always down. Please do some major maintenance and fix all your problems!!! UPGRADE YOUR SERVERS TOO!!! - Yours truly one pissed off Instagrammer'

Briana Taylor took to Twitter to complain. She said: 'Dear Instagram PLEASE FIX YOUR APP. Your news feed is almost always down. Please do some major maintenance and fix all your problems!!! UPGRADE YOUR SERVERS TOO!!! - Yours truly one pissed off Instagrammer'

Briana Taylor took to Twitter to complain. She said: ‘Dear Instagram PLEASE FIX YOUR APP. Your news feed is almost always down. Please do some major maintenance and fix all your problems!!! UPGRADE YOUR SERVERS TOO!!! – Yours truly one pissed off Instagrammer’

Twitter user Eric Norton, from Daytona Beach, Florida, said: 'It's going to be one of those days again. #FacebookDown #InstagramDown Guess it's back to living real life instead...'

Twitter user Eric Norton, from Daytona Beach, Florida, said: 'It's going to be one of those days again. #FacebookDown #InstagramDown Guess it's back to living real life instead...'

Twitter user Eric Norton, from Daytona Beach, Florida, said: ‘It’s going to be one of those days again. #FacebookDown #InstagramDown Guess it’s back to living real life instead…’

Facebook has experienced a number of outages affecting one or more of its apps – Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp.

As the servers dealing with all three share information, it is increasingly likely that an issue affecting one Facebook service will also hit others.

In the early weeks of June, Instagram was hit with an outage that affected users around the world and lasted for several hours.

Alex Phillips wrote: 'instagram is down. facebook is down. twitter DMs are down. WhatsApp is down. the end times are upon us. #instagramdown'

Alex Phillips wrote: 'instagram is down. facebook is down. twitter DMs are down. WhatsApp is down. the end times are upon us. #instagramdown'

Alex Phillips wrote: ‘instagram is down. facebook is down. twitter DMs are down. WhatsApp is down. the end times are upon us. #instagramdown’

Just days before that, Instagram was hit by a separate outage that left users unable to access their feed, post photos and or view direct messages in the app.

In March, Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp were hit by one of the worst outages in the social media giant’s history, when all three services were down at the same time for more than 14 hours.  

WHAT CAUSED FACEBOOK’S LARGEST EVER OUTAGE?

On March 14, 2019, Facebook experienced the largest outage in the social network’s history.

There are a number of explanations as to why problems with Facebook’s own hardware could have caused the outage.

The firm’s claims of a ‘database overload’ on its network of servers could be caused by a range of internal complications.

The 500 ‘internal server error’ messages detected by internet network analysts can be prompted to a variety of snags.

With a network of servers – the computers that relay traffic to and from the firm’s apps and their users – as large as Facebook, complications are bound to arise.

Planned maintenance of the software databases used to ferry this internet traffic, as well as the hardware they are stored on, can lead to scheduled downtime.

In this case, the outage clearly caught the company by surprise, which would explain why it took them so long to bring their apps back online. 

Facebook has so far remained tight-lipped over the exact cause of the ‘database overload’.

Potential explanations include updates to the network’s infrastructure that led to unintended consequences.

Another theory put forward suggests that an internet service provider (ISP) in Europe misdirected traffic from Facebook and this problem then spread across the internet.

A useful analogy to explain this explanation is a motorway’s worth of cars being sent down a cul-de-sac due to an incorrect road signal.

The mass failure of components, which includes hard drive storage or power supplies, could also explain the outage, but this would seem unlikely.

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