Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and more down as world’s biggest websites hit by outage

Etsy, the US Postal Service and many more sites not working properly

Andrew Griffin@_andrew_griffin
Wednesday 13 March 2019 22:32
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Facebook, Instagram, Etsy and US postal taken down amid major outages

The world’s biggest websites were hit by a series of outages yesterday in a significant global internet problem.

Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and more were all suffering from problems that stopped people getting online through websites and apps.

It is not clear if the outages were connected. But they all mysteriously began at the same time, and were being felt across the world.

Recap the events as they happened with our live blog below

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Andrew Griffin13 March 2019 18:48
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A strange thing about the current outage is that it follows major problems with Gmail and other Google products overnight. Again, it's not clear that any of these things are necessarily connected yet – but it's certainly been a very difficult day for the people who make sure websites are online, whatever is happening.

Andrew Griffin13 March 2019 18:52
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Facebook has acknowledged the problems, though it's given no detail on what is causing them or when they might be fixed.

"We’re aware that some people are currently having trouble accessing the Facebook family of apps," it wrote. We’re working to resolve the issue as soon as possible."

They've been ongoing for an hour and they've not said anymore, either.

Andrew Griffin13 March 2019 18:55
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As well as the wide variety of websites that are suffering issues, Down Detector is now showing people having problems with Century Link, the US internet and TV provider.

Andrew Griffin13 March 2019 19:00
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Facebook has confirmed that what's happening is not a DDoS attack, though it hasn't said what it actually is.

Andrew Griffin13 March 2019 19:06
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A DDoS attack – short for distributed denial of service – is when a whole host of computers all send traffic at one particular place in the internet, overloading it and (if successful) taking it offline.

Facebook's denial that it is one means that it could be a whole host of other things: a problem with its own servers, its code or an issue with another part of the infrastructure of the internet.

It does however seem to make it less likely that something intentional is going on, such as an attack by hackers or a state actor.

The rumours about a DDoS attack appear to have come from one Twitter user, though it would also be one of the obvious explanations for such an extreme, immediate and widespread outage.

Andrew Griffin13 March 2019 19:09
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(Facebook's statement that the outage is "not related to a DDoS attack" isn't going down well on Twitter. Just about every reply is from someone conspiratorially (and baselessly) suggesting that them saying so actually means that it is something to do with a DDoS attack.)

Andrew Griffin13 March 2019 19:14
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The outage appears to be getting worse, according to Down Detector. Facebook, Instagram and to a lesser extent WhatsApp are all still having big troubles; other non-Facebook apps including Twitter seem to be having problems as well.

Andrew Griffin13 March 2019 19:20
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It's important to note that not everyone is having these problems: some people can still get on Facebook, Instagram and the other affected services, and some of them can do so without any problems at all. It's not clear what's deciding if you can or can't.

Andrew Griffin13 March 2019 19:29
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The problems at WhatsApp – which had been a relatively minor part of the issues, and dwarfed by Instagram and Facebook – are getting much worse.  Down Detector shows reports of problems at WhatsApp are surging:

Andrew Griffin13 March 2019 19:35

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