Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp were first reported offline by Down Detector at 11:44 a.m. ET and remain down as of this report, causing a range of unexpected issues for the people and companies dependent on the apps for work and personal communications.
Outages at Facebook and its subsidiaries are rare, and this outage appears show the full scale of the world's dependence on the tech giant for everyday function. The outage appears to be affecting Facebook's internal communications tools and ad platforms (which businesses large and small use to plan their marketing strategies), as well as its external sites. Some workers at the tech giant and social media influencers are both calling the outage a "snow day" on (ironically) the remaining social media site still online: Twitter. Some Facebook employees have also reportedly been unable to enter the company's buildings or conference rooms because their access badges rely on the same missing online infrastructure.
People who rely on Facebook and WhatsApp to contact personal connections in other countries are also reporting that they have no other way to communicate.
This outage comes the same week that Francis Haugen, the whistleblower who shared a wide collection of Facebook's internal research with The Wall Street Journal, prepares to testify before Congress. The teams at Facebook preparing for this testimony and handling the fallout of Haugen's public appearances are probably also affected by the outage, if they rely on internal tools to communicate.