Having suffered through two outages in a single week, Instagram is now experimenting with an alert function that will tell users when the social media platform is likely to undergo an outage or a technical difficulty.
After a nearly seven-hour outage on Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp on Monday, followed by a relatively minor Instagram outage on Friday, the latest development comes as a relief to users.
“We’re currently testing a new feature that will tell you in your Activity Feed when we encounter an outage or technical issue, as well as when the issue has been resolved,” says the company. In a blog post, Instagram stated that “we will not send a warning every time there is an outage, but if we notice that users are confused and looking for explanations, we will consider if anything like this could help make things clearer.”
According to Engadget, the new alerts will appear in users’ Activity Feeds, where they will be displayed alongside other in-app notifications. The alerts might inform users about specific concerns, such as story submissions, or they could inform users about a more widespread problem, such as the outages that occurred last week that caused confusion.
On Monday, people all across the world were affected and were able to confirm if the problem was caused by their network or whether the Facebook-owned apps were indeed unavailable. Following the resolution of the problem, Facebook stated that the outage was caused by a “faulty configuration modification.” Over 3.5 billion WhatsApp users around the world were affected by the service’s downtime. The outage was one of the most prolonged that Facebook and its sibling firms have ever experienced. It also caused facebook.com and its servers to become inaccessible on the internet.
Several users assumed that Facebook had been taken offline as a result of a hack, while others speculated that a Facebook employee had accidentally corrupted the company’s server infrastructure. Facebook said that the issue occurred with the company’s DNS servers and BGP routing protocol (the local peering network that Facebook uses).
In the meantime, Instagram is developing a new Account status feature for its mobile application. Users will be provided with full information as to why their account has been suspended or why a post has been removed through the use of this tool. If a user believes that a decision was made in an unfair manner, they can request a review. Instagram has stated that the function would make it easier for users to explain why a post has been removed and whether or not they will be banned from the service entirely. Users will be better able to understand why their accounts have been suspended as a result of the upgrade.