If you are a Facebook or Instagram user, you will have already noticed that for many the sites are currently down. Already, people have flooded Twitter in an effort to both voice their dismay of a lack of their favorite social media outlets as well as to find out what is going on. And, as a result of this, news sites are likely experiencing a lot more traffic than normal as people turn to the tried and trusted method of finding out information.
According to USA Today, the outage to both Facebook and Instagram (which is owned by Facebook), occurred on Wednesday afternoon in the U.S. However, the outages are also occurring worldwide, with Australia waking up to discover both sites down. WhatsApp is also reported as being down. At least five hours have passed so far without these social media platforms and there appears to be no news regarding an expected return time.
Several hours ago, Facebook announced via Twitter that they were aware of issues with their platforms. One hour after that, Facebook informed its users that they are working to resolve the issue. They also confirmed that they did not believe they were a victim of hacking.
“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 wrote in a tweet.
Since then there has been no official news regarding the outage. It has been five hours so far since an update from Facebook regarding the situation.
— Eli Blumenthal (@eliblumenthal) March 13, 2019
However, Roland Dobbins, an engineer with network performance firm Netscout, believes the outage was caused by “an accidental traffic jam issue with a European internet company that collided with Facebook and other websites.” He does not believe this traffic jam was malicious in intent.
With Facebook down, Twitter is now considered the main social media platform in which to find reliable news. As Wired points out, it also means that news sites are likely getting much more traffic than normal as people scour the internet for news about the issue.
When Facebook went down for approximately 45 minutes on August 3, 2018, news sites saw an 11 percent increase in traffic. To gather this figure, 4,000 publishers’ sites were analyzed after the event. With Facebook and Instagram now being down for several hours, it is expected that many more users will be turning to more traditional methods in order to find out information regarding the outage. In addition, there was a 22 percent increase in traffic to news mobile apps during the 2018 outage.
And now, only time will tell just how many people will click over to news sites during Facebook’s current downtime.