The outage started just after midnight, and seven hours later, they are showing signs of returning.
The three social media platforms are all owned by Facebook and the company has yet to offer an explanation as to why the sites went down.
This is the worst Facebook outage since a 2019 incident took the site offline for 24 hours.
On Twitter, Facebook communications exec Andy Stone said; “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.”
Many businesses rely on Facebook and Instagram for their social media presence and the loss of communication with their customers could have a serious impact as it did in 2019.
Facebook itself runs all of its internal communications through the site, and employees have reportedly been forced back to Microsoft Outlook.
Facebook engineers are currently working at the company’s US data centres to try and fix the problem and appear to have had some success, although services have not yet fully returned across the globe.
Twitter, which is not owned by Facebook, has become the social media refuge for the millions of people currently locked out of their social media fix.
hello literally everyone
— Twitter (@Twitter) October 4, 2021
Reddit, too, has become a hive for temporarily displaced citizens of the internet and is having a great time ripping on its competition.
Why Did Instagram, Facebook and Whatsapp Go Down?
While there hasn’t yet been an official update, Alex Hern, The Guardian’s Technology Editor, has given an explanation for what he understands the problem to be (on Twitter, naturally).
Normally, this would be quite easy to fix. you just send another update saying "oh, don't worry, we have servers, they're here, xoxo". Things still break, it takes a while for the message to spread to all corners of the internet, egg on face, but liveable
— alex hern (@alexhern) October 4, 2021
The issue, he says, is that Facebook runs all of its communication through its own servers, so when the servers were sent offline, they also lost the ability to send the update message, directing the internet to the new servers.
Essentially, Facebook has no way to tell the internet where the servers are as all backup access works through the site. This would explain why engineers have been physically sent to their data centres to try and manually update the servers.
One user on Twitter likened it to locking your car keys in your own car.
Facebook and Instagram have apparently returned for some users however major problems still remain.
There are also reports that Whatsapp is back for many users.