WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook have all gone into a big mess. The three apps – all owned by Facebook, and run on shared infrastructure – all shut down completely before 5 p.m. Other products that are part of the same app family, such as the Facebook workplace have also stopped working.
Visitors to the Facebook website only saw an error page or a message that their browser could not connect. WhatsApp and Instagram apps continue to work, but do not show new content with any messages sent or received during issues.
Facebook’s confusions are relatively rare but their influence tends to be broad, at least because they affect the world’s three largest apps. Companies are often secretive about the cause of any problems, and do not tend to explain them even after they have been fixed. In 2019, for example, it encountered the biggest confusion of the year – simply stating that it “caused a problem” during “routine maintenance activities”.
In a leaked transcript published in The Verge in 2019, chief executive Mark Zuckerberg notes that such confusion is a “big deal”. Any problem often starts using people instead of competitors and mentions that it can take “months” to regain trust and get people back on the Facebook platform – if they come back at all.