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Widespread outage of Facebook, Instagram left users disconnected from social media Tuesday

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(© Jirapong – stock.adobe.com)

A widespread outage of Meta’s Facebook, Instagram and Messenger today had everyone locked out of their social media accounts.

Login issues for both Facebook and Instagram were created by a technical issue and were acknowledged by Meta’s head of communications Andy Stone on X, formerly known as Twitter. Stone posted that Meta “resolved the issue as quickly as possible for everyone who was impacted, and we apologize for any inconvenience.”

Users were locked out of Facebook accounts and feeds on Tuesday. The Wall Street Journal reported that Threads and Instagram were not refreshing content for users. WhatsApp, owned by Meta, did not seem to be affected by the outage.

Variety reported that error reports spiked just after 10:30 a.m. ET on Tuesday, according to monitoring service Downdetector. By 11 a.m., more than 500,000 error reports were received.

By 12:30 p.m. ET the outage appeared to have resolved.

A U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency senior official said the agency was “not aware of any specific election nexus nor any specific malicious cyberactivity nexus to the outage.”

Thursday, March 7, 2024 is the deadline for Big Tech companies to comply with the European Union’s new Digital Markets Act, which will require changes by Meta such as permitting users to separate their Facebook and Instagram accounts. The separation will prevent third parties from accessing combined personal information and targeting users with online ads.
Whether the outage today is connected to Meta’s preparations for Thursday’s deadline is unclear.
The last widespread outage of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp was when all three were down for several hours in 2021. A brief outage of WhatsApp happened in 2022. The next year, WhatsApp had another brief outage.

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.