Social media platforms Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp down for hours: What happened?

Social media Facebook Messenger Instagram WhatsApp down

On Monday afternoon ET, the social media community worldwide seemed paralyzed after nearly six hours of downtime by the Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp platforms, all owned by Facebook, Inc. The outage has gradually come back for some users after hours, while others still have trouble accessing the social media applications. 

The issue has trended on Twitter with the hashtags #facebookdown and #internetshutdown shortly after people started to experience trouble using the platforms. The company’s spokesperson made a statement through Twitter regarding the outage, apologizing to the affected community.  They also assured them to be working hard to resolve the problem immediately. The spokesperson tweeted again hours after, informing users that the Facebook services are back online and thanked them for bearing the issue. 

Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, has also sent an update through a short Facebook status post, letting everyone know that the apps are coming back online already. He also added that he knows how much people rely on their social media platforms to stay connected to the online world. 

DownDetector, a tool that provides real-time information about the status of different websites and services, has shown an upsurge in reports about the social media platforms being offline since Monday afternoon. 


Throughout these social media platforms’ outages, cybersecurity researchers have been looking for the root cause of the issue 

Sources have reached iZOOlogic regarding a RaidForum account under the name ‘CBT’ claiming to be responsible for the outage issue. This account has also threatened to release 600TB worth of Facebook data. 

RaidForum is a database marketplace and sharing site exclusively for data breaches and leaks with about 445,000 active users. 

However, experts highlighted that ‘CBT’ is only posing as the mastermind – with no real proof that it holds the mentioned amount of data against Facebook. 

There was still no information about the social media platforms’ root cause of the outage as of writing. 

Two anonymous Facebook security team members have shared that a cyberattack is unlikely to be the reason for this issue because a hack can’t affect different applications simultaneously. One possible angle that security researchers look at is that the problem has stemmed from the computer servers of Facebook, which disallows people from accessing social media platforms. 


A Facebook whistleblower adds fire to the outage issue 

A former Facebook product manager named Frances Haugen recently revealed the social media giant’s internal dispute that she is “becoming increasingly alarmed” about. Her website mentioned Facebook’s choices in giving more importance to their profits and interests instead of the welfare of the millions of its users, which puts people’s lives at risk. 

Facebook’s Policy Communications Director has responded to these allegations by stating that the company is balancing the rights of people to fully express themselves while also having to keep the platform’s safe and positive environment every day. The Director also added that the whistleblower’s claim regarding Facebook promoting harmful content is not true. 

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