Social media sites Facebook and Instagram were down for users around the world starting from just before 7am NZT,Thursday 14th March. The disruption is estimated to have lasted for approximately 14 hours.
The hashtag #Facebookdown started trending on Twitter. Some users reportedly weren’t able to log into their account at all, while others experience limited functionality.
Initially Facebook acknowledged that it was aware that services were down in some areas, but didn’t given a reason for the outage.
"We're aware that some people are currently having trouble accessing the Facebook family of apps. We're working to resolve the issue as soon as possible.” it said on Twitter
This was the worst disruption to the platform since 2008 when Facebook user numbers were around 150 million – compared with 2.3bn monthly users currently on the social media network.
During and after the outage, there was speculation about a cyber-attack. Much of the speculation centred on whether Facebook had been the victim of denial of service (DDOS) attack – where a hacker overwhelms a site by flooding it with fake traffic. However, Facebook have strongly denied this.
Well, Canterbury Police took the step of posting a warning on Twitter asking Kiwis not to call 111 over the issue: "Unfortunately we cannot do anything about this because, you know, they're based in America and we're the Police." Some users trying to access Facebook were met with a message saying "Facebook will be back soon"
"We know. Our @facebook and @instagram haven’t been working either. Unfortunately we cannot do anything about this because, you know, they’re based in America and we’re the Police. So please don’t call us to report this. Pretty please."— Canterbury Police NZ (@NZPCanterbury) March 13, 2019
The NZ Parliament also tweeted that the outage would mean its select committee meeting would not be live streamed on Thursday morning. "Public meetings will be recorded and uploaded to committees' Facebook pages later today," it said.
"Due to today’s global Facebook outages, select committee meetings will not be live streamed this morning. Public meetings will be recorded and uploaded to committees’ Facebook pages later today. #nzpol https://t.co/LcWUcQlNKr"— NZ Parliament (@NZParliament) March 13, 2019
Instagram reports that it has 1 billion active users every month. And from December 31, Facebook had over 2.32 billion monthly active users.
Users reported a variety of issues with Facebook’s family of services. While Facebook’s main service appeared to load, users reported not being able to post. Instagram users were not able to refresh feeds or post new material. Facebook Messengers’ desktop version appeared to be down. The mobile app was glitchy, with some messages working but issues with images and other kinds of content. WhatsApp, another Facebook service, appeared to have similar problems.
Users worldwide were also affected by an outage on Gmail and Google Drive. On Wednesday people reported having trouble loading websites and sending emails. According to the website outage report, there were 1276 reports of problems with Gmail in a 20 minute period.
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