Facebook, Messenger and Instagram are back online following a 1.5hrs outage that left users worldwide unable to access Meta’s social media platforms – as experts say ‘a cyberattack can never be fully ruled out’

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Written By Maya Cantina
  • Meta’s Facebook, Messenger and Instagram experienced issues worldwide 
  • The outage appeared to hit the platforms around 10am ET (3:20pm GMT)

Facebook, Messenger and Instagram are back online following a 1.5-hour outage that left users worldwide unable to access Meta’s social media platforms. 

Angry users found themselves suddenly booted out of their accounts, making them think they’d been hacked and their personal details stolen. 

The issues appeared around 10:20am ET (3:20pm GMT) and impacted both apps and websites – although Meta’s WhatsApp was unaffected.

Along with the US, the outage reached the UK, parts of Europe, China, Australia and Mexico – leading to Meta’s stock price falling. 

Users flooded to X (Twitter) to complain about the outage and share memes, to the delight of owner Elon Musk. 

Meta’s Facebook , Messenger and Instagram are down worldwide, leaving thousands of users unable to access the social media platforms

DownDetector, which monitors online outages, shows more than 200,000 Americans are having problems with Facebook (pictured is the outage map), but over 30,000 reported the same with Instagram - Messenger has a little over 8,000

DownDetector, which monitors online outages, shows more than 200,000 Americans are having problems with Facebook (pictured is the outage map), but over 30,000 reported the same with Instagram – Messenger has a little over 8,000

Along with the US, the outage has reached the UK, parts of Europe, China , Australia and Mexico

Along with the US, the outage has reached the UK, parts of Europe, China , Australia and Mexico

A source inside Facebook told DailyMail.com that the company’s internal systems were also down, which may have led to the issues. 

DownDetector, which monitors online outages, showed hundreds of thousands in the US alone having problems with Facebook and tens of thousands reported the same with Instagram, while Messenger had a few thousand issue reports. 

Facebook’s and Messenger’s glitches surfaced when users noticed they were kicked out of their accounts and unable to log back in – even with the right credentials.

Meanwhile, the News Feed on Instagram started showing an error message. 

DownDetector’s outage map shows New York City in the red, along with Boston, Chicago and major cities in California. 

The majority of issue reports cited problems with the apps – 72 percent for Facebook, 64 percent for Instagram and Messenger is at 50 percent.

On Elon Musk’s X, users shared their frustrations and started asking if anyone else in the world had been experiencing the same problems.

Some people experiencing issues initially thought their accounts may have been hacked, but there are more than 80,000 posts on X about Facebook and Instagram being down.

Musk responded to Meta’s outage with a post on X: ‘If you’re reading this post, it’s because our servers are working.’ 

Users are now flooding to X (Twitter) to complain about the outage and share memes, to the delight of owner Elon Musk

Users are now flooding to X (Twitter) to complain about the outage and share memes, to the delight of owner Elon Musk

Many users were trying to logon to Facebook thinking their account had been hacked - unaware that a global outage was occuring

Many users were trying to logon to Facebook thinking their account had been hacked – unaware that a global outage was occuring

The issues appeared around 10:20am ET (3:20pm GMT) and are impacting both apps and websites - although Meta's WhatsApp seems unaffected

The issues appeared around 10:20am ET (3:20pm GMT) and are impacting both apps and websites – although Meta’s WhatsApp seems unaffected

Elon Musk shared this tweet suggesting his social media app was superior to Meta rivals Instagram, Facebook and Threads

Elon Musk shared this tweet suggesting his social media app was superior to Meta rivals Instagram, Facebook and Threads 

Facebook's and Messenger's glitches surfaced when users noticed they were kicked out of their accounts and unable to log back in - even with the right credentials

Facebook’s and Messenger’s glitches surfaced when users noticed they were kicked out of their accounts and unable to log back in – even with the right credentials

DailyMail.com also found that two-factor authentication (2FA) – which sends an SMS message with a code to a user’s phone for login – was not working. 

Meta’s service dashboard, which lists its services, has continued to show major disruptions for some feature – but then has switched to ‘Unknown’ for all or completely blank.

While the Facebook insider told DailyMail.com the issued stemmed from internal tools, the public has shared their speculations on X.

Some have suggested that the outage is a ‘cyberattack’ as it is happening on Super Tuesday, which is when several states are set to hold presidential primaries.

Jake Moore, tech expert and security advisor at ESET, said a cyberattack is unlikely but not impossible.

‘Facebook has a history of going down but this could be for a long list of reasons,’ he told MailOnline.

‘Although highly unlikely to be a cyber attack it can never be fully ruled out but it is far more likely to be yet another internal network problem.’ 

Kerri Lisenbigler, editor at TheRevOpsTeam, said the outage is an ‘annoyance’ but likely ‘nothing too serious’. 

‘It’s not the first time this has happened and won’t be the last,’ she told MailOnline.

‘Large platforms such as Facebook and Instagram (and now Threads) manage an enormous amount of traffic and data every single hour of the day. 

‘This means a minor glitch or human server room error can easily snowball into an outage affecting millions of users.

‘These things are only really a cause for concern should the teams at Meta not manage to get things back online within a few hours, that is when people will start speculating about the possibility of a cyberattack.’ 

Many users have said their two-factor authentication is also not allowing them to log in

Many users have said their two-factor authentication is also not allowing them to log in

Many users thought their Facebook and Instagram accounts had been hacked

Many users thought their Facebook and Instagram accounts had been hacked

Meta's Facebook, Instagram and Messenger are all experiencing issues, according to DownDetector

Meta’s Facebook, Instagram and Messenger are all experiencing issues, according to DownDetector

While reason for the outage remains unclear, it comes three years after Facebook experienced a seven-hour blackout that cost the company an estimated $100million in lost revenue.

The global outage – which hit Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger – was caused when a faulty update that disconnected its servers from the internet, meaning engineers had to travel to its Santa Clara data center to fix the glitch in-person.

But the repair was delayed, according to one insider who was posting on Reddit, because of ‘lower staffing in data centers due to pandemic measures’.

The glitch, which prompted calls for a break-up of big tech firms, also brought down messaging services that remote-working staff use to communicate, so those who knew how to fix the servers couldn’t get that information to the teams inside the data-center, the insider said.

Also disabled were key-fob entry systems at Facebook’s main campus in Menlo, meaning those who had been WFH but rushed back to the office could not get inside while those already inside were unable to access conference rooms and other areas that required a pass.

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