As Facebook apps blinked out, billions of lives were disrupted, businesses cut off from customers — and a few Facebook employees were even locked out of their offices.
San Francisco — Facebook and its family of apps, including Instagram and WhatsApp, remained inaccessible for hours on Monday, showcasing just how dependent the world has become on a single company that is under intense scrutiny.
Users report Facebook’s apps, including Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Oculus, and Messenger, started displaying error messages at around 11:40 a.m. EST, and within minutes, Facebook had disappeared from the internet. This Facebook outage lasted for more than five hours before some apps began flickering back to life. The company has cautioned the services would take some time to stabilize.
Even so, the impact was severe and far-reaching. Facebook has built itself into a pivotal platform with virtual reality, messaging, live-streaming, and many other digital services. In certain countries, like India and Myanmar, Facebook is the synonym for the internet.
Over 3.5 billion people worldwide use Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger, to communicate with friends and family, distribute ideas, and develop their businesses through advertising.
Facebook is also used to sign in to many other apps and services, this led to an unexpected domino effect as people were not able to log into shopping websites or sign in to their smart TVs, thermostats, and other internet-connected devices.