Instagram, along with Facebook and WhatsApp, had a major outage recently. Minor outages here and there are common, but this one was huge and knocked out all of Facebook’s big services for many hours. Not everyone knew it was a worldwide outage, though, leading them to think there was an issue only on their end, and it’s something Instagram is trying to address going forward.
Instagram has announced a new feature for its mobile app that will let people know about any technical issues the service might be facing, instead of leaving users to find out from other sources, such as their friends and family or websites such as ours and many others. Instagram says the user’s activity feed will notify them whenever there’s an outage and it determines that it has lead to widespread confusion and questions about what went wrong.
However, this particular feature seems to be geared more towards letting us know when specific aspects of Instagram — such as stories — aren’t working. It won’t be any use when everything is down and Instagram and Facebook have no way to send messages or notifications to their users through the apps, though it’s not like such massive outages are too commonplace anyway.
In any case, the new Instagram-is-out-for-everyone-not-just-you-alert functionality will first be tested in the US for a few months, and if successful, it will be rolled out to other markets in the future. It’s also going to be exclusive to iOS for a while, but the Android release shouldn’t be far off once the feature is ready to go for the masses. Whether or not the Facebook and WhatsApp apps will also get a similar alert system remains to be seen.