Global Instagram outage causes frustration, concern for users

  • One Hong Kong student said she received a message her account would be suspended and her content disappeared
  • Notable accounts, like Cristiano Ronaldo, have experienced a noticeable dip in followers
Yanni Chow |

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Instagram users were confused when they received a message saying they had been locked out of their accounts on Monday. Photo: AP

When Clarisse Poon opened up Instagram on Monday night, a message popped up saying that her account had been suspended.

She couldn’t access any of her three accounts, but she didn’t know why.

“All the posts and story highlights on my page had vanished. I was frantic,” she said.

Clarisse was one of the many Instagram users who received warning messages in error that their accounts were about to be shut down for good on Monday during a global outage.

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Many confused fans of the photo-sharing platform took to Twitter to vent their frustration.

Later in the night, Instagram posted a tweet acknowledging the outage.

“We’re aware that some of you are having issues accessing your Instagram account. We’re looking into it and apologise for the inconvenience,” read the post, accompanied by the hashtag #instagramdown.

Instagram is owned by Meta, which also owns Facebook and WhatsApp. Photo: Reuters

The message shown on the app said the accounts weren’t following community guidelines and that the owner of the account had 30 days to request a review of the decision.

The initial message was confusing for Clarisse, who uses her Instagram to share information about climate change every day.

“I kept telling myself to stay calm and be patient, believing that the bug would soon be fixed,” she said, after seeing the company’s statement.

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She regained her accounts on Tuesday morning, with all her content untouched, but she noticed that her followers had taken a dip.

On one of her accounts, which had initially garnered 1,208 followers, the number had dropped to only 600.

“I think the ones I lost were the suspended accounts, and when they open the app again, they could be reactivated,” she said, adding that her followers had climbed back up to 1,000 by noon on Tuesday.

Instagram posted a statement on Twitter saying the problem had been resolved.

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“We’ve resolved this bug now – it was causing people in different parts of the world to have issues accessing their accounts and caused a temporary change for some in the number of followers. Sorry!” the post read.

But some users say their accounts are still frozen, and notable Instagram accounts have seen a significant fall in followers following the outage.

Cristiano Ronaldo, the most followed person on the platform, lost about three million followers during the outage, but the number returned to normal by Tuesday afternoon.

The Meta-owned platform is not the only app to experience a glitch recently. Global web messenger WhatsApp was down for two hours last Tuesday, affecting users in Hong Kong and abroad.

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