What caused the Facebook, Instagram outages?

(NEXSTAR) — Facebook and Instagram users were locked out of their accounts Tuesday morning during a widespread outage of the social media platforms.

Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and Threads — all owned by Meta — were down Tuesday shortly after 9 a.m. CT, DownDetector reports. Users were either unable to load new posts or were logged out and unable to log back in. The issues appeared to begin resolving for users about 90 minutes later.

Andy Stone, Meta’s head of communications, addressed the outage on X, saying, “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.”

Stone did not provide any additional details.

London-based internet monitoring firm Netblocks said the problems appeared to be “related to login sessions in multiple countries.” But the firm, which advocates for internet freedom, said there was no sign of “country-level internet disruptions or filtering,” which are typically imposed by governments.

Cybersecurity expert Matthew Green said the outage appeared to go beyond Meta.

“There are a number of services having trouble with at least parts of their systems, particularly the ability to log into websites,” said Green, an associate professor of computer science and member of the Johns Hopkins University Information Security Institute. “This may indicate a common cause, like a failure at a major cloud services provider. At the moment nobody knows exactly what’s happening.”

A senior official with the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency told reporters Tuesday that the agency was “not aware of any specific election nexus nor any specific malicious cyberactivity nexus to the outage.” Voters in more than a dozen states will head to the polls Tuesday for the “Super Tuesday” primary elections.

The outage comes just ahead of Thursday’s deadline for Big Tech companies to comply with the European Union’s new Digital Markets Act. To comply, Meta is making changes, like allowing users to separate their Facebook and Instagram accounts so personal information can’t be combined to target them with online ads. It’s not clear whether the outage is connected to any preparations Meta might be carrying out for the DMA.

In 2021, Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp were down for hours, an outage the company said was a result of faulty changes on routers that coordinate network traffic between its data centers. The next year, WhatsApp had another brief outage.

Nexstar reached out to Meta for comment on cause of Tuesday’s outage, but hadn’t heard back.

Nexstar’s Michael Bartiromo and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

Tech

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