Business Standard

Facebook outage causes users to dial 911

Such incidents are likely to once again focus attention on people's growing dependence on their online lives

Anisha Dutta 

Remember when they warned us against being too addicted to social networking sites? Some Facebook users apparently did not get the memo. A number of Los Angeles residents went a step ahead and actually dialed 911 – the emergency helpline number used in the United States to report crimes, medical emergencies, fires, and the occasional cat-in-tree crisis – after the popular social media site crashed for nearly 30 minutes at 9:30 pm IST Thursday. Sergeant Burton Brink of the LA County Sheriff’s office went to the extent of publicly expressing his annoyance, ironically, on Twitter.

Meanwhile, desperate Facebook users also quickly took to Twitter to vent, quickly helping ‘#facebookdown’ trend worldwide within minutes. Of course, some also tweeted joking about the extent of the outrage users were pouring out over a social media site outage.
Meanwhile, Facebook users were greeted with a cryptic “Sorry, something went wrong” message on the world’s largest sharing network that boasts of more than a billion users worldwide. Instagram, a popular photo-sharing site which Facebook bought for $1 billion two years ago, also crashed at the same time. According to a PTI report, Facebook responded to the 35-minute outage, saying, "Facebook is currently experiencing an issue that is affecting all API and web surfaces. Our engineers detected the issue quickly and are working to resolve it ASAP. We will update shortly." This was the Facebook’s second major outage in two month, with the first one lasting about half an hour on June 19. Earlier this year, popular free mobile message app WhatsApp crashed for almost four hours, causing much heartburn among users around the world. Such incidents are likely to once again focus attention on people’s growing dependence on their online lives, a trend that some doctors categorise as ‘social media addiction, which comes with classic withdrawal symptoms.

First Published: Sat, August 02 2014. 15:20 IST