Facebook claims it is ‘back at 100% for everyone’ after a mass outage saw worldwide connectivity issues plague its entire family of apps yesterday for 11 hours.
Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp were hit by an outage around 9 am ET that primarily affected photos, including uploads, Stories, and posts in the News Feed.
The mass outage is likely to be linked as Facebook owns Instagram and WhatsApp, and the three share systems across apps and has been accredited to an error triggered by ‘routine maintenance’.
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.’
It later revealed it has fixed the problems around 8pm ET.
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Facebook claims it is ‘back at 100% for everyone’ after a mass outage saw worldwide connectivity issues plague its entire family of apps yesterday for 11 hours
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’ but reports of outages to Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp started drifting in from several hours beforehand
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.
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.
In lieu of pictures, the sites showed the associated image tags.
The blip essentially meant users received a glimpse at exactly how Facebook sees your life, down to your hobbies, pets, and scenic snaps.
Both Instagram and Facebook have been displaying image tags all day since the outage hit early Wednesday morning.
This is based solely on its object recognition system, meaning the labels are assigned whether or not you’ve added your own description.
In many cases, the machine learning tool appears spot on.
For a MailOnline reporter, both Facebook and Instagram’s tags paint a picture of a user who mostly posts ‘outdoor, water and nature,’ ‘plant and food,’ and ‘cat’ pictures, along with shots including ‘one or more people.’
Most tags appear accurate at a glance (though it apparently struggles to differentiate between cats and ferrets).
The mass outage is likely to be linked as Facebook owns Instagram and WhatsApp, and the three share systems across apps. Instagram was hardest hit with a peak of complaints at nearly 15,000 separate reports on outage-tracker site downdetector
Facebook experienced issues with its service at precisely the same time as Instagram, with 7,656 reports the peak of complaints
WhatsApp, which is owned by the Facebook group, also had issues. Messages and pictures would not send on the app. it appears all three platforms are now fully operational again
In lieu of pictures, the sites have been showing the associated image tags. The blip essentially means you get a glimpse at exactly how Facebook sees your life, down to your hobbies, pets, and scenic snaps
A glitch affecting Facebook’s suite of apps has inadvertently provided its users some transparency on how its machine learning system sorts your content. These labels come as part of Facebook’s push to be more accessible to users with visual impairments
Frustrated users flooded to Twitter – which was fully working throughout the outage of its rival – 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.’
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…’
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
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.
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.