Fact Check: Facebook Outage On October 4, 2021, Was NOT Met With Virtually 'No Media Coverage'

Fact Check

  • by: Lead Stories Staff
Fact Check: Facebook Outage On October 4, 2021, Was NOT Met With Virtually 'No Media Coverage' Got Coverage

Was Facebook's outage on October 4, 2021, met with "virtual no media coverage?" No, that's not true: not only was there major media coverage of the outage as it occurred but there was plenty of coverage about it after it was resolved.

The claim was made in a video (archived here) recorded live on Facebook by the Wendy Bell Radio Show page on October 5, 2021. The caption of the post read:

10/5/21 The world's largest social media platform shuts down for precisely SEVEN HOURS with virtual no media coverage?? And now, 36 hours after a whistleblower goes on 60 Minutes, she's set to testify before a senate committee? Right. Buckle up friends.

This fact check will only address the "no media coverage" claim made in the caption which was also emphasized throughout the video.

This is what the post looked like on Facebook on October 6, 2021:

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Wed Oct 6 18:09:16 2021 UTC)

The outages on Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram on October 4, 2021, primarily affected the platforms from just before noon ET to before 6:00 p.m. ET. Beginning at the 8:25-mark of the video, Bell claimed that major news outlets did not explain what happened during the outages. Beginning at the 15:07-mark, she named some of the outlets that she claimed did not post information about the outage as it happened -- ABC, CNN, NBC, CBS and NPR -- and referred to the outlets' supposed lack of coverage as "a very coincidental, coordinated bit of silence."

However, there was media coverage about the outage while it was going on. Lead Stories examined the websites of the news outlets Bell named and found examples of coverage about the outage that were published as it was happening:

  • CNN: An article titled "Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp go down" was published on October 4, 2021, shortly after the outage began. A web page capture of the article is available in the Wayback Machine on the archival site Internet Archive. The capture was taken on October 4, 2021, at 17:05:07 GMT, which converts to 1:05:07 p.m. ET. The article has since been updated.
  • NBC: An article titled "Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp all experiencing outages" was published during the outage. The article has since been updated.
  • CBS: During a live broadcast on October 4, 2021, from CBSN, CBS News' digital streaming news service, CBS correspondents Vladimir Duthiers and Anne-Marie Green reported that Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram were down.
  • ABC and NPR: Both ABC and NPR featured versions of a wire service article from the Associated Press about the outage as it occurred. While the article was updated on the ABC and NPR websites (here and here), the most recent version of the article can be found on the AP News website.

In addition to the outlets named by Bell at the beginning of the video, other major news outlets such as the New York Times and the Washington Post reported on the outage as it occurred. According to a Google News search of "facebook outage october 4, 2021," the story was also extensively covered after the technical difficulties at Facebook were resolved.

Lead Stories also published stories about the outage, which can be found here and here.

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  Lead Stories Staff

Lead Stories is a fact checking website that is always looking for the latest false, deceptive or inaccurate stories (or media) making the rounds on the internet.

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