Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram Were Briefly Down for Users Around the World

Thousands of users were reporting problems with Facebook services including Instagram and WhatsApp around the world.

Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram Were Briefly Down for Users Around the World
  • Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram all down around the world
  • Thousands of users have reported problems with all Facebook services
  • The last major outage took place just a few months ago in December 2020

Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook Messenger — all Facebook services were briefly down around the world. Many users had been posting on Twitter about not being able to log into any of the Facebook services, and Gadgets 360 staff also found that we can't send messages on WhatsApp, or open the other sites for almost an hour. According to website outage tracker Downdetector, the problems started to be noticed by users at around 10.30pm IST on Friday, March 19 — as of 11.30pm IST they started to be functional again.

Less than an hour later, there were already almost 40,000 reports on the tracker for WhatsApp. A similar trend can be seen for all other Facebook services including Instagram, and Facebook Messenger, apart from the main social network itself. The issue wasn't just limited to the websites either — the apps for these platforms were also not working

whatsapp error reports screenshot 1200 downdetector

WhatsApp errors started at around 10.30pm and suddenly spiked, and so did other Facebook apps
Photo Credit: Screenshot/ Downdetector

Since then, many people were tweeting about problems with FacebookInstagram, and WhatsApp. Looking at the map on Downdetector, it didn't appear to be a problem with any one region, but was impacting people around the world. 

At this moment, there are not many other details about why the service was down, but this is not the first time in recent months that Facebook has been down — just a few months ago, all Facebook services were down for several hours in December 2020.

Facebook's own downtime dashboard does not reflect any issues at the moment, but its 90 days history also marked some issues in January apart from the major outage in December.

Users around the world are making jokes, trying to guess what caused the outage, and just venting on Twitter, but at this point, it's not clear when the social network and its various services will be back. This highlights something else that's worth noting — as we've become more and more reliant on Facebook's services, particularly WhatsApp to drive not just updates and funny cat pictures, but build entire businesses and communities on, outages like these can actually be quite serious.

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Further reading: Facebook, Social, Instagram, WhatsApp
Gopal Sathe is the Editor of Gadgets 360. He has covered technology for 15 years. He has written about data use and privacy, and its use in politics. He has also written extensively about the latest devices, video games, and startups in India. Write to gopal@ndtv.com or get in touch on Twitter through his handle @gopalsathe with tips. More
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