March 5, 2024 – In an unexpected turn of events coinciding with Super Tuesday, Meta Platforms, the social media giant encompassing Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, encountered a widespread outage on Tuesday, March 5, impacting millions of users globally.

The outage, starting around 10:00 AM ET and lasting for approximately two hours (Downdetector), caused significant disruption for users attempting to access:

  • Facebook: Users were unable to log in, access news feeds, or interact with content.
  • Instagram: Similar issues plagued Instagram, preventing users from logging in, sharing photos and videos, and browsing content.
  • Other Meta services: The outage extended to other Meta properties, including Threads and potentially impacting business-oriented features like Facebook Shops and WhatsApp Business API.

This disruption coincided with Super Tuesday, a crucial day in the US presidential primaries, raising concerns about its potential impact on political campaigns. Many campaigns heavily rely on social media platforms to mobilize voters, share information, and gather feedback. The unexpected outage potentially hindered their ability to connect with their electorate during a critical phase of the election cycle.

While the exact cause of the outage remains undisclosed by Meta, it reportedly began around 10:00 AM ET and was resolved by around noon ET. Experts speculate the issue stemmed from a backend service malfunction rather than a complete server outage. Meta has yet to officially confirm the cause and has only issued a statement acknowledging the inconvenience caused by the unexpected disruption.

This incident highlights the growing dependence on social media platforms in our daily lives and the potential ramifications of service disruptions, particularly during critical events like elections. As investigations into the cause continue, the full extent of the outage’s impact, including on Super Tuesday campaigns, will likely become clearer in the coming days.