Facebook And Instagram Down—Here’s What’s Happened And Why


Facebook and Instagram are getting back up and running after both services went down on March 5. Users of the services were reporting their Instagram wasn’t loading and their Facebook session had logged out.

It led many people to worry that their Facebook and Instagram had been hacked. So, is this true and if not, what exactly happened?

Facebook and Instagram Down

The issues with Meta’s services Facebook and Instagram started at about 10:45am EST, with people reporting they couldn’t access the apps. I tried to log into my Facebook on my MacBook at 11:26am EST but received a prompt to log back in. My Instagram iPhone app wasn’t loading with the message “couldn’t load posts” appearing.

Around 500,000 Facebook users have reported issues, with Down Detector showing a spike mid morning.

Have Facebook And Instagram Been Hacked?

So have Facebook and Instagram been hacked? No, it doesn’t look like it, the two services are instead suffering an outage. Facebook has a history of going down but this could be for a huge list of reasons, says Jake Moore, global cybersecurity advisor at ESET. He says it’s “highly unlikely to be a cyber-attack, but adds that this “can never be fully ruled out.”

Facebook owner Meta confirmed the issue via X formerly Twitter, saying the firm is “working on this now.”

A Meta spokesperson sent me an update via email which reads: “Earlier today, a technical issue caused people to have difficulty accessing some of our services. We resolved the issue as quickly as possible for everyone who was impacted, and we apologize for any inconvenience.”

Facebook And Instagram Down—The Reaction

With Facebook and Instagram down, many users were left with nothing to do but turn to X, formerly Twitter. This led to a smug post from the social media site’s owner Elon Musk, who wrote. “If you’re reading this post, it’s because our servers are working.”

Others questioned whether they were being hacked, expressing relief when they realised this wasn’t the case.

Experts Analyse The Meta Outage

Experts from software giant Cisco’s ThousandEyes Internet Intelligence team have analysed the Meta outage, offering people more detail about what actually happened.

According to the ThousandEyes team—which actively monitors the reachability and performance of thousands of services and networks across the global Internet—the Meta outage was probably caused by an issue with a backend service such as authentication.

“ThousandEyes confirms that Meta’s web servers remained reachable, with network paths clear and web servers responding to users,” the researchers wrote in a blog. However, users attempting to login received error messages, “suggesting a backend service, such as authentication, as the cause of the issue,” the researchers said.

By approximately 16:50 UTC (8:50am PST), ThousandEyes observed Meta services gradually recover, with many users able to successfully access the application. By 18:40 UTC (10:40 am PST), the incident appeared to be resolved, the researchers said.

However, on March 6, some users are saying they still can’t access their accounts, suggesting there may still be residual issues with Facebook. The majority of problems seem to be due to a two-factor authentication (2FA) issue, with SMS codes not working on the site. I have contacted Facebook owner Meta to ask for an update on this and covered the issue in another article.

Facebook and Instagram Security

When you can get back into Facebook and Instagram, you will still need to log back in. When you do, it’s a good idea to shore up your security and start using a password manager such as 1Password or Bitwarden. “When Facebook is back up and running, users will be given the opportunity to log back in but if they hit forgotten password, they will be able to generate a new unique password via a password manager,” Moore says.

You can also enable two-factor authentication for extra security to protect your Facebook and Instagram from hackers.

Update 03/06 at 03:20 EST. This article was first published on 03/05 at 11:50am EST. Updated to include analysis by the Cisco ThousandEyes team looking at what caused the outage, as well as a press statement from Meta.



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