Facebook and Instagram Outage Unraveled

Facebook and Instagram
Image: Google

Following a momentary outage on March 5, Facebook and Instagram are gradually restoring their services. Users found themselves unable to access Instagram and were unexpectedly logged out of Facebook during this period.

This disruption prompted concerns regarding potential hacking incidents affecting these platforms. However, the reality of the situation is somewhat different. What transpired exactly?

The Downtime of Facebook and Instagram Troubles with Meta’s platforms, Facebook and Instagram, commenced around 10:45 am EST, with numerous individuals experiencing difficulties accessing the applications. My attempt to log into Facebook on my MacBook at 11:26 am EST resulted in a request to log in again. Similarly, the Instagram iPhone application failed to load, displaying a recurring message indicating “couldn’t load posts.”

Approximately 500,000 Facebook users reported encountering issues, with Down Detector registering a notable increase in reports during the late morning hours.

Security Breach on Facebook and Instagram?

Were Facebook and Instagram compromised by hackers? It appears not. Instead, the services encountered an outage. According to Jake Moore, a cybersecurity expert at ESET, Facebook’s history of outages can be attributed to various factors. He suggests that while a cyber-attack is highly improbable, it cannot be entirely ruled out.

Meta, the parent company of Facebook, acknowledged the problem through a communication on X, formerly Twitter, affirming active efforts to address the issue.

A spokesperson from Meta provided an update via email, stating, “Earlier today, a technical glitch impeded users from accessing certain services. We promptly resolved the issue for affected users and apologize for any inconvenience caused.”

The Public Response to the Facebook and Instagram Outage In the absence of Facebook and Instagram, users turned to X, formerly Twitter, for engagement. This prompted a wry remark from Elon Musk, the owner of the social media platform, who quipped, “If you’re reading this post, it’s because our servers are operational.”

Expert Analysis of the Meta Outage Experts from Cisco’s ThousandEyes Internet Intelligence team delved into the Meta outage, furnishing insights into the root cause.

According to ThousandEyes, the outage likely stemmed from an issue with a backend service, such as authentication. Although Meta’s web servers remained accessible, users encountered errors upon attempting to log in, indicating a backend service malfunction.

By 16:50 UTC (8:50 am PST), ThousandEyes observed a gradual recovery of Meta services, with many users successfully accessing the application. By 18:40 UTC (10:40 am PST), the incident appeared to have been resolved.

However, on March 6, reports surfaced indicating persistent login issues for some users, suggesting residual problems with Facebook.

Enhancing Facebook and Instagram Security Upon regaining access to Facebook and Instagram, users are advised to bolster their security measures. Implementing a password manager such as 1Password or Bitwarden is recommended. Moore emphasizes the importance of utilizing a password manager to generate unique passwords for heightened security.

Additionally, enabling two-factor authentication offers an added layer of protection against potential hacker threats targeting Facebook and Instagram accounts.

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