Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram suffer a temporary outage

The universal fact of today is that people live their lives more on social networking sites than in reality. Whether it is likes, dislikes, travel, food, etc. is part and parcel of their routine from the time they wake up to the time its lights out. But what happens when their connection to their virtual lives is severed. Hue, cry, and outpour is the result. Such an incident took place just two days back, on Monday late evening, when the main sites and apps of Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram stopped working temporarily and suffered an outage.

How and when did this happen?

Late evening on Monday, users started facing problems with their Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram apps. The apparent fallout of this was the anxiety levels soared to the extent that people began venting out on the only working platform – Twitter. Globally this problem affected different regions in various manners and for varied time frames. The geographies that experienced this problem were across most areas of North America, Europe, and Northern Africa. Some parts of India also reported this issue along with minor user percentage coming from South America and the Philippines as well. The outage, detected by an independent monitoring site called DownDetector, finally concluded that the apps underwent an outage around 9:30 pm GMT.

Such was the level of panic that the Twitterati as the Twitter users are called, went crazy. The Twitter users’ posts started swelling with hashtags stating the problem and related app. Complaints lined with hashtags of #FacebookDown #WhatsAppDown floated across Twitter with millions of users responding to it stating they faced the similar problems. Users were not only miffed but unkind in their comments towards Facebook mainly. One user went ahead to say, “You know why Twitter users never run to Facebook when it’s down? Cause it rarely ever is, because they don’t update their site every 27 minutes!!!” Not just comments, but GIFs, funny videos and memes trolled Facebook and its related sites for its poor services. Though the problem lasted only for about 60 to 90 minutes, those 90 odd minutes were enough to send end users into a tizzy.

Common problems the users faced was of trying to log into the apps and failing to do so repeatedly or suddenly logging out. Other users were allowed to be logged into applications but were denied access or weren’t allowed to post any content from their profile or accounts despite the post option being active. Additionally, users received different messaging around the world while logging in. Some places the error message stated “Service unavailable” while others received a lengthier message that said, “Facebook is currently undergoing maintenance, and you should be able to get back on within a few minutes”.  The issue was not only detected in the mobile and handheld applications but also on the desktops laptops user PCs.

What was the problem?

Facebook blamed a network bug for the entire episode that ensued. Their spokesperson, Jay Nancarrow summarised his press bite stating that a networking problem caused the outage and hence people had trouble accessing or posting to Facebook and related services. Apologizing for the inconvenience, it caused to the users; he went on to add that they quickly investigated the issue and fixed it for everyone involved and it was up and running. Though they have fixed the said issue, they have not gone ahead and revealed any internal specific details about the outage nor clarified if it posed any kind security risk to users’ data while the sites were down.

This is not the first time this happened. Since Facebook and WhatsApp now share the same platform, one goes down; the other one will follow suit.