Another Instagram outage caps off Facebook's very bad week [Update]

Instagram is apparently celebrating the end of the week with some more sporadic downtime, with users reporting issues loading new photos and videos in the app on Friday afternoon. The problems come only days after a huge Facebook outage that spanned the social network behemoth's various properties.

That saw Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Oculus services all go down on Monday, October 4. The outage lasted for around six hours in total.

Today's Instagram glitches don't seem to be anywhere on that scale, though they are proving to be frustrating. As on Monday, some users are reporting seeing "Can't load feed" error messages when they try to load new content in their timeline. Others can eventually get the app to load, though very slowly.

DownDetector, a tool that monitors popular websites for periods of downtime, corroborates the problems. Instagram outage reports have spiked on Friday afternoon, compared to the typical baseline complaints.

Monday's widespread outage was blamed on a faulty configuration update, with Facebook insisting that there was no hacking or security breach involved. Instead, the Border Gateway Protocol – or BGP – which helps coordinate network traffic between Facebook's data centers was improperly set up. That had wider-reaching impact than just the servers not responding to users, mind.

Since Facebook relies on that infrastructure to control everything from internal messaging through to building access, the downtime had a knock-on impact on who could get through to the affected systems – and get the right advice to actually fix the problem. Facebook says it's now working on ways to address those issues so that they're not such an issue in the case of future glitches.

While the downtime was a reminder of just how widespread Facebook usage is, and how much people rely on Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram to occupy themselves, it also came as the social networking company sees renewed criticism from regulators. Facebook PR has been criticized of poorly handling this past week's whistleblower complaints, attempting to undermine the credibility of former product manager Frances Haugen who released a huge cache of internal research data to law enforcement agencies in the US.

That data, it's alleged, demonstrates that Facebook was aware of how potentially damaging its services could be to younger users in particular, but that the company still pushed ahead with its products anyway. Facebook has argued that those claims are unfounded.

Update: Facebook has confirmed the issues, and it looks like it's affecting more than just Instagram again: