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Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp platforms are down in outage

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Facebook and the associated platforms owned by the US tech giant were down on Monday in an apparent widespread outage. (Photo by Getty Images)

America’s tech-giant Facebook and other platforms owned by it, Instagram and WhatsApp, all are down in an apparent widespread outage. The websites and apps for all of the services are responding with server errors.

Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram all experienced outages on Monday evening, according to DownDetector.com.

Reports showed the outages appear to be widespread. It’s not currently known what’s causing the outage.  

“We’re aware that some people are having trouble accessing our apps and products,” a Facebook spokesperson said. “We’re working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible, and we apologize for any inconvenience.”

Facebook is showing users a message that the site “can’t be reached” and Instagram is displaying a “5xx Server Error.”

Facebook said that outage was caused by a technical issue. In 2019, a similar outage lasted about an hour.

In a statement, Facebook acknowledged users were having trouble accessing its apps but did not provide any specifics about the nature of the problem causing the outage. 

"We're working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible, and we apologize for any inconvenience," Facebook tweeted about 30 minutes after the first reports of the outage.

Shares of Facebook opened lower and slipped further to trade down 5.3% in afternoon trading on Monday. They were on track for their worst day in nearly a year, amid a broader selloff in technology stocks on Monday, according to Reuters. 

This comes as two members of the European Parliament have called for an investigation into allegations by a whistleblower that Facebook prioritized profits above the public good.

The whistleblower, Frances Haugen, who had worked as a product manager on the civic misinformation team at Facebook, shared internal documents with newspapers and attorneys general from several U.S. states.

Facebook is aware of the fact that its platforms are used to spread hate, violence and misinformation, but it has tried to hide that evidence, Frances Haugen told the CBS television program "60 Minutes" on Sunday.

"The thing I saw at Facebook over and over again was there were conflicts of interest between what was good for the public and what was good for Facebook, and Facebook over and over again chose to optimize for its own interests, like making more money.”

She also revealed her identity as the whistleblower who provided the documents that underpinned a Wall Street Journal probe and a Senate hearing on Instagram's harm to teen girls.

A series of stories the Journal published based on Facebook internal presentations and emails showed the social media company contributed to increased polarization online when it changed its content algorithm, failed to take measures to reduce vaccine hesitancy and was aware of the fact that Instagram harmed the mental health of teenage girls.

On Monday, a statement from European Parliament lawmakers said they were requesting further investigations into the revelations.

"The Facebook Files – and the revelations that the whistleblower has presented to us – underscores just how important it is that we do not let the large tech companies regulate themselves," said Danish lawmaker Christel Schaldemose.


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