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’.
We're focused on working to resolve the issue as soon as possible, but can confirm that the issue is not related to a DDoS attack.
— Facebook (@facebook) March 13, 2019
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…”
Emergency services are asking the public to stop calling triple zero about the Facebook and Instagram outage :neutral_face: pic.twitter.com/ZHlGr1uQAt
— Sunrise (@sunriseon7) March 13, 2019
Canterbury Police in New Zealand also had to make a plea on Twitter to stop residents phoning to report Facebook outages.
We know. Our @facebook and @instagram haven’t been working either. Unfortunately we cannot do anything about this because, you know, they’re based in America and we’re the Police. So please don’t call us to report this. Pretty please.
— Canterbury Police NZ (@NZPCanterbury) March 13, 2019
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.
We will move mountains to help those in our community, however we can't fix Facebook so please don't call 911 to "let us know its down." pic.twitter.com/6K5C2s3Vsk
— Bothell Police (@BothellPolice) October 11, 2017
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.