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People were calling the police because Instagram and Facebook were down

by Calum Patterson

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Emergency services in the USA and Australia have had to request that internet users stop phoning 911 and Australian equivalent, 000, to report that Facebook and Instagram were down.

Facebook, which also owns Instagram, had possibly its most widespread outage on March 13 - 14, with users unable to access or load either website all around the world.

Facebook acknowledged the issues, and assured users that they were not caused by a malicious DDoS, in a post on Twitter - the only social network which appeared to survive the crash, as it's not part of Facebook's 'family of apps'.

With Facebook and Instagram among the most visited sites in the world, behind only the likes of YouTube and Google, the news of mass outages quickly spread - but some users' panic went slightly too far.

Australian news show 'Sunrise' reported that "Queensland police are saying please don't call 000 - I know..."

Canterbury Police in New Zealand also had to make a plea on Twitter to stop residents phoning to report Facebook outages.

It wasn't just Queensland and New Zealand residents either, as there were also reports of calls being made to 911 in California, and other places in the US.

Police in Bothell, Washington had to make a similar plea on their Twitter account.

It should go without saying that phoning law enforcement to inform them of a website outage is a serious waste of police time.

Facebook and Instagram has been coming back online for most users on March 14, but it appears it's not completely out of the woods yet.