Bizarre Instagram outage left some thinking they were banned

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You're not alone if you were unable to check your Instagram feeds today. Instagram confirmed that some users were"having issues" accessing their accounts. The social network hasn't identified a cause as of this writing, but some users have received notices that their accounts were suspended, while others have seen their follower counts drop. On Monday evening Instagram claimed in a tweet to have resolved the issue, but did not provide any explanation as to why the error occurred.

Reports of failures started spiking on Downdetector shortly before 9AM Eastern. They weren't consistent, however, as many users (including here at Engadget) weren't running into problems.

This isn't the first significant outage in the past year. Parent company Meta's social networks suffered a major outage roughly a year ago after a bug disconnected key parts of the company's backbone network. More recently, Instagram fixed a bug in early October that prevented iOS users from accessing the service. An instant crash bug in September didn't help, either. These hiccups aren't frequent, but they suggest Instagram still has teething troubles.

The situation is better than in years past. Instagram suffered a particularly rough 2019 where it endured two outages in the space of a month. That's on top of a privacy issue that left users' passwords exposed to employees.

Nonetheless, this latest failure comes at a bad time. Although Instagram's audience is continuing to grow and just topped 2 billion active users, Meta is bleeding cash as it invests in metaverse technologies like virtual reality hardware and its Horizon Worlds platform. The firm isn't in immediate danger, but it needs reliability if it's to keep growing its social media empire and offset mounting costs.

Update November 1, 2022 2:16 ET: The outage endured quite awhile, but has finally been resolved. Parent Meta gave Engadget the following statement: "Earlier today, a bug caused some Instagram users to have issues accessing their Instagram accounts. This led to a small number of accounts seeing a temporary change in how many people follow them. We resolved the issue as quickly as possible for everyone who was impacted, and we apologize for the inconvenience."