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(Pocket-lint) - An internet outage is reportedly affecting popular social media sites and services - namely, Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp, all of which are down at the moment.

In recent months, all four services have suffered lengthy outages, sometimes lasting hours. By "down" or "outage", we mean the inability to access either site and see your feed. Or, it's as simple as not being able to send or receive messages on either platform or get anything to load.

When you experience this, you might see an error message.

The error messages often vary. Instagram will sometimes show a "5xx Server Error" or that it's unable to refresh the feed, while Facebook will show a "Sorry, something went wrong" message. As for WhatsApp and Messenger, they will show a clock icon next to messages that aren't being delivered. When you see these indications, it can be frustrating, and you may be wondering when the services will be up and running again.

Luckily, there is an easy way to check the status of these services to see if they're down or up. Simply go to a site like Down Detector:

Down Detector works for all sorts of websites and services, so it's a handy tool to bookmark when you think something is not working right. We also recommend checking Twitter to see what others are experiencing and to look for official announcements from the companies themselves.

If you ever think Twitter is down for you, you can check that, too:

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Writing by Maggie Tillman. Originally published on 19 March 2021.