Facebook is down, along with Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger, and Oculus VR
The three apps – which are all owned by Facebook, and run on shared infrastructure – all completely stopped working shortly before 5pm. Other products that are part of the same family of apps, such as Facebook Workplace, also stopped working.
Visitors to the Facebook website simply saw an error page or a message that their browser could not connect. The WhatsApp and Instagram apps continued to work, but did not show new content, including any messages sent or received during the problems.
Facebook’s outages happen relatively rarely but tend to be vast in their impact, not least because they affect three of the world’s biggest apps.
We’re aware that some people are having trouble accessing Facebook app. We’re working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible, and we apologize for any inconvenience.— Facebook App (@facebookapp) October 4, 2021
Instagram and friends are having a little bit of a hard time right now, and you may be having issues using them. Bear with us, we’re on it! #instagramdown— Instagram Comms (@InstagramComms) October 4, 2021
The company is often cryptic about the causes of any issues, and does not tend to explain them even after they are fixed. In 2019, for instance, it suffered its biggest outage in years – and said only that it had “triggered an issue” during “routine maintenance operations”.
In a leaked transcript published in The Verge in 2019, chief executive Mark Zuckerberg note that such outages are a “big deal”. Any problems can often lead people to start using competitors instead, and noted that it can take “months” to win back trust and get people back on Facebook’s platforms – if they come back at all.
Instagram.com is flashing a 5xx Server Error message, while the Facebook site merely tells us that something went wrong. The problem also appears to be affecting its virtual reality arm, Oculus. Users can load games they already have installed and the browser works, but social features or installing new games does not.
There’s no word yet from Facebook about what may be causing the problem or when those sites, including Messenger and WhatsApp, will be operational again, but we will update this article with more information when it’s available.