Facebook and Instragram Down on Super Tuesday? You're Not Alone Amidst Widespread Outages

Multiple media sources report that Facebook, Instragram and Threads are down for, at s minimum, hundreds of thousands of users, including users "kicked out" while in the midst of scrolling.

In other cases, the login process has been disrupted, passwords not recognized, and the processes for resetting passwords disrupted, even with warnings that a long-existing account was not recognized.

All three services are owned and managed by Meta Platforms.

Super Tuesday

Interestingly enough, the outages coincide with "Super Tuesday" in the United States, when 15 states and one territory hold presidential primaries.

The outages potentially raise questions about disruptions and impediments to political communications, whether paid political ads or posts by users or pages.

That scenario could be complicated by the fact that e-based communications might be some of the only political communications bypassing restrictions on political speech within the confines of polling places, especially if voters are in long lines and turn to their handheld mobile devices for diversion while waiting to vote.

That reality arguably poses the question, will the outages distort election results?

That point presupposes that some voters can be influenced at the last moment, and specifically by certain so-called "social media."

In turn, there is the question of whether, and how, cellphones can be restricted at polling places in the first place, such as when silently to access the screen, or whether silent use can be guaranteed or is likely.

In this latest phase of the internet users can be bombarded by video and audio in webpages, and web-based advertisements, perhaps without direct consent.

Complicating matters is the fact that, with IT designers often getting overly enthusiastic for tweaking details, some mobile devices have becoming overly detailed with multiple speaker setting for multiple types of uses. That creates the potential for some users to believe, in good faith, that they have turned off the sound for the device, only for it to still be turned up for some uses, while being turned down for others.

One could envision a voter with a cellphone a polling place innocentaly failing to turn down all volume settings, while thinking that they have, with the sound still remaining high for web browsers. Then the user might innocentaly open up a news article to reference some last-minute information, only to have embedded news video blasting narration about political candidates.

With the deluge of advertising videos that sometimes start unilaterally playing themselves on webpages without user consent, it would be interesting to see whether some of those "autoplay" advertisements can manage to start blasting sound, and whether paid political advertisements might inadvertently start being blasted by overactive cellphone speakers in violation of polling place restrictions.

Additional Reading:

> Meta's Facebook, Instagram down for hundreds of thousands of users across globe - Reuters 3.5.24

> Facebook, Instagram and Youtube users fume as social media giants face global outage - NY Post 3.5.24

> Facebook, Instagram down during outage; thousands affected - WFLA 3.5.24

> Facebook, Instagram, Messenger Are Down in Worldwide Outage; Hundreds of thousands of users around the world have reported outages, according to Downdetector. - WSJ 3.5.24

> Facebook, Instagram Down: Thousands of Users Report Problems Including Getting Logged Out - Variety 3.5.24

> Facebook and Instagram down? Outages reported across the country - WLWT 5 3.5.24

> Facebook, social media outage reported across country Tuesday - WBAL 3.5.24

Key Words: Facebook, Meta, Instagram, Threads, Social Media, Online, Internet, Outages

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