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Facebook, Instagram and Facebook Messenger all got hit by a big outage – but they're back up again

Facebook auto-logged people out and wouldn't accept their passwords as the social network got hit by an outage

Facebook has rolled out new features on its 10th birthday
(Image: © Facebook)

Facebook went down earlier today (March 5, 2024) due to "technical difficulties" causing "major disruptions", according to Meta, though the company hasn't detailed what exactly the problem was. 

Instagram also appeared to suffer an outage in some regions, with sporadic WhatsApp outages reported too. 

I first noticed the problem when after checking the Facebook app on my iPhone 15 Pro Max, I was informed the session had expired and I needed to log in again. After putting in the password, Facebook did a virtual hiccup and told me there was something wrong and continued to boot me back to the login screen.

As a result, Facebook Messenger also went down and booted users back to a login screen where their credentials weren't accepted.

However, I could still login to Instagram, while some of my colleagues reported that they couldn't, suggesting that the outage only partially affected the photo- and video-sharing service. 

At the time of writing, Meta reports that Facebook logins are now back up and running as it recovers from disruption. And I find I can log into Facebook just fine. 

For a full breakdown of the Facebook outage as it happened, read on. 

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So when I try to login to Facebook or Facebook Messenger I get a pop up saying an "unexpected error occurred" and no joy in getting around it. 

Taking a look at Downdetector and Facebook has just had a huge outage spike. 

An image of a Facebook outage in Downdetector

(Image credit: Ookla)

Apparently WhatsApp users are reporting outages too, but my WhatsApp app is working fine. This is odd. 

an image showing reports of WhatsApp outage on Downdetector

(Image credit: Ookia)

it's hard to tell, but it would appear that these outages are partially region-specific. WhatsApp and Instagram are fine for me, but Facebook isn't letting me log in. 

However, others are saying they can't get into Instagram and Downdetector is flagging WhatsApp outages. 

Ah! News Editor Mark Wilson has just pointed out that WhatsApp has only 300 or so outage reports, while Facebook's outage reports are at 250,000. 

So it looks like Meta's main social network is bearing the brunt of the outage. 

As one might expect X, the social media site formerly known as Facebook, is awash with people flagging Facebook outages. 

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No official Facebook statement has landed in our inboxes, but Andy Stone, Communications Director at Meta, tweeted (or is that X-ed) that: "We're aware people are having trouble accessing our services. We are working on this now." 

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Ever the intrepid tech journalist, our own US Editor-in-Chief Lance Ulanoff was quick to ask Andy Stone what's going on. 

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Anyway, here's the Downdetector image for Instagram. Looks like things ain't rosy on Meta's tech side. 

an image of Instagram outage on Downdetector

(Image credit: Ookla)

Also for our American readers, don't put this down to Super Tuesday conspiracy theories. I know it's tempting but no, just no.  

One of the great things about such outages is they spawn a load of quick and dirty memes. See below! 

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So what could have caused this outage? Well there's a myriad of reasons. It could be a problem with a clutch of servers or a Facebook data center could have gone down. 

Equally, there could have been a misconfigured cloud instance, as Facebook uses Amazon Web Services (AWS) for its global operations. So something wrong on that side could be the culprit. 

So what do you do now that Facebook is down? Well I guess you'll have to find old school friends and crushes on X or in old photos, rather than lurking on the social network. 

Or you could just go outside... 

Or you could just be a bit of prat on X, much like the below tweet from Elon Musk.  

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So Meta's Facebook login page is citing "Major disruptions". The phrase that comes to mind rhymes with 'go hit'. 

an image of the Facebook login page status from Meta

(Image credit: Meta)

Oh, if you're just getting to this live blog, don't worry you've not been hacked. Facebook is just down. 

For more hacking information, heck out TechRadar Pro's article on Social media hacking: how to protect your account against intruders

Despite the outages, Instagram is still up and running for me. That means I can continue to feel inadequate in the face of fitness influencers and people who can cook really rather nice meals or have massive Lego collections. 

If you want some social media goodness to keep you amused while facebook is out, then check out the TechRadar TikTok account. There we've got a load of cool videos of the latest and most interesting consumer tech. 

And here's a video of me making a fool out of myself on it...

@techradar

♬ James Bond Theme - Monty Norman

The whole outage has come a day after Instagram did some notable changes to its process of direct messaging between users. So maybe some code gremlin or misconfigured cloud server has had some cascade effect after the change was implemented. 

Of course, this is just speculation on my part. 

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Remember that bit on The Social Network when Mark Zuckerberg (played by Jesse Eisenberg) said "We don't crash ever"? Yeah that's not aged well. 

FYI, if you've not watched The Social Network then fix that right away as it's excellent. 

Another problem with Facebook being down is where does your uncle with the questionable views post, or comment, on equally dubious content? 

Makes you think... 

When Facebook's login problems are fixed, I really hope Mark Zuckerberg responds with something like: "Meta late than never."

Yeah, ok, that's not great but I haven't had enough coffee today. 

While there's not been a mass of reports, there was a spike in AWS outages around the same time Facebook when down. That could be a clue that the Facebook outage may be linked to a problem with AWS, say a portion of the servers reserved for Meta malfunctioned. 

Again, my speculation here based on years of covering outages, cloud and IT, before moving to consumer tech. 

an image of AWS outages on Downdetector

(Image credit: Ookla)

Oh...Oh...OH! It looks like I can now login to Facebook again. That would suggest this outage has been fixed. 

My colleagues report they can now login to Facebook and Downdetector has seen a big drop off in reports of outages. Looks like the day's drama could be over folks. 

And it's official: Meta's Facebook login page has updated its status to in a relationship to "Recovering from disruptions". That means that you should be able to, or soon be able to, log into Facebook and its associated services. 

An image of the Facebook login status page from Meta

(Image credit: Meta)

So yeah, you can go back to using Facebook as a means to check if the person you're going on a date with is actually who they say they are. Or to make sure you're doing better than that person who made your life hell at school. 

Meta hasn't explained why Facebook went down but comms boss Andy Stone cited a "technical issue" and apologized for the inconvenience caused. 

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Well until we hear something from Meta, I think it's time to put a halt to this live blog. It looks like everything is basically up and running again, and Facebook is once more a place to see questionable information, opinions and photos of people enjoying their wee lives. 

I've been your host Roland Moore-Colyer. And until the next outage I bid you adieu.