Wednesday, July 03, 2019

WhatsApp down: Media downloads affected in worldwide outage

Users across the United Kingdom, Europe and parts of Africa are taking to Twitter to complain about not being able to load, send or receive content via WhatsApp. Neither via the app, nor on the website version.

Text messages appear to work at times but voice notes, videos and photos do not go through. Instead, users get a ‘download failed’ message with a prompt to try again.

Interestingly, the preview image does appear, but the image cannot be opened. And the preview appears fuzzy.

Facebook acknowledged the problem
The issue was first noted when several hundred users logged complaints on the outage tracker Down Detector late Wednesday afternoon. Facebook confirmed to The Sun that they are attending to the issue:

“We’re aware that some people are currently having trouble uploading images, videos and other files on our apps. We’re working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible.”
Unfortunately, Facebook hasn’t revealed the exact cause of the outage. However, 82% of those who reported problems with Instagram said the issue was with the News Feed, 11% with the website, and 6% with log-in.

A quick search on Is It Down Right Now showed that there is a “possible Service Disruption”.

A possible explanation
While Facebook remains mum about the crash, Jane Manchun Wong shared some insight on Twitter. Wong, a technology blogger and app researcher, explained so much on her wall.

“Facebook image CDN is down, affecting Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp. ‘x-fb-response-reason: No server is available for the request.'”

She joked that “Facebook is under DDoS attack” according to a source, and added: “I highly suspect this cyberattack is state-sponsored [China flag emoji].”

Update: She has since deleted that tweet, and said instead: “No, China previously attacked Telegram. And now Facebook too. We Hong Kongers communicate with these platforms, making decentralized protests possible. Taking these down could negatively impact our communication.”

Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram also experienced one of its longest outages in March, when users had trouble accessing the sites for up to two days.

One month later, Facebook and Instagram experienced a similar issue and failed to load. Messages couldn’t be sent or received on WhatsApp either.

Facebook owns both WhatsApp and Instagram, in case you were wondering how it’s all connected. An issue that affects one Facebook service will have an impact on its other services as well.
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