Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Threads Are Coming Back Online After a 2-Hour Outage

Meta’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg used to describe his company’s mission as “making the world more open and connected.” Tuesday it did the opposite, as all of Meta’s social platforms, which include Facebook, Instagram, Threads, Messenger, and WhatsApp, experienced widespread outages around the globe for around two hours.

Some people found themselves being suddenly logged out of Facebook and Messenger. Instagram was not loading new content, starting around 10 am ET. “We’re aware people are having trouble accessing our services,” Andy Stone, communications director at Meta, posted to X. “We are working on this now.” Meta spokesperson Erin McPike later referred WIRED to Stone’s updated post, saying that Meta had “resolved the issue as quickly as possible for everyone who was impacted, and we apologize for any inconvenience.”

The outages lasted for around two hours before Meta’s platforms seemed to slowly come back online for some users. Thousand Eyes, a network intelligence company, said on X that Meta’s web servers were reachable after 11:30 am ET, but that some users were still getting error messages, which suggests a “backend service, such as authentication, as the cause of the issue.” Meta’s post on Threads saying “We’ve resolved the issue 🫶,” didn’t appear until nearly 1 pm ET.

While several hacker groups have claimed responsibility for the outage, history shows that these types of service disruptions are rarely the work of nefarious actors. In 2021, Facebook and Instagram experienced another massive outage, caused by an update to the company’s routers.

The outages hit as people around the US went to the polls for Super Tuesday, when 15 states hold primary elections. Political ad spending is still overwhelmingly directed towards traditional media (mostly television), but a report from Insider Intelligence found that more than 28 percent of projected political ad spending for 2024 went towards digital platforms, with Meta receiving about 4.5 percent of the $12.32 billion total expected.