ISLAMABAD: The international servers of three key platforms of Facebook went down on Friday night, leaving WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook Messenger non-functioning.

The three applications suffered the outage at around 10:30pm Pakistan time. However, the servers were restored over half an hour later and the bulk of stuck-up messages started to pour in at the receivers’ mobile phone sets and other gadgets.

Soon after the server crashed a large number of complaints were received by the local internet service providers (ISPs) in Pakistan. Most ISPs responded to their clients that the disruption was not at their end.

Facebook Inc said its services were being affected by a number of issues, after nearly a million people across the world reported problems with its photo-sharing app Instagram.

“Multiple teams are working on it (the outage), and we’ll update you when we can,” Facebook’s gaming unit said in a tweet.

Instagram, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger were down for people across the world, The Independent reported.

Facebook later confirmed its service had been restored and if anyone was still facing issues they could contact the support team.

WhatsApp, in a statement on Twitter, said the outage lasted for 45 minutes. “Thanks for your patience, that was a long 45 minutes but we are back!” the company wrote on Twitter.

Earlier, tens of thousands of users took to Twitter to complain about the outage, with #whatsappoutage trending in many countries, including Pakistan. The top two trends in Pakistan were #whatsappdown and #facebookdown.

Users reported seeing error alerts when they opened the apps — which share common technology under Facebook — and were unable to send or receive messages.

Outage tracking website Downdetector.com showed there were nearly one million incidents of people reporting issues with Instagram, while nearly 20,000 users posted about problems with WhatsApp on the website.

The major outage was reported at around 1730 GMT, according to Downdetector. However, shortly after 1800 GMT, several Whatsapp users said on social media that they were able to again send messages on the app.

Instagram also came back after about an hour.

Downdetector tracks outages by collating status reports from a series of sources, including user-submitted errors on its platform.

Published in Dawn, March 20th, 2021

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