While some of us are comfortable with the fact that we can eat breakfast without having to tell our 429 Facebook friends about it, a few users apparently think it is an emergency if Facebook goes down for 30 minutes and prevents them from sharing pictures of the soggy cereal and milk they had for breakfast.
That is what happened on Friday when Facebook and Facebook-owned Instagram experienced a brief outage affecting millions of users around the world and prompting them to take to Twitter to complain. One user, Sgt. Burton Brink of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, posted the following tweet.
"#Facebook is not a Law Enforcement issue, please don't call us about it being down, we don't know when FB will be back up!"
The tweet went viral minutes after it was posted. One user replied to say he "weep(s) for our future," while another user named Charlie Zegers joked, "They should probably try the NSA instead," referring to the National Security Agency's online surveillance program revealed by controversial NSA contractor Edward Snowden in 2011. Other users asked if Brink was joking.
"We get phone calls all the time, whether it be Facebook going down, people getting wrong orders at fastfood restaurants, or their cable TV going down," answers Brink. "But with Facebook in particular, we get calls probably because it's such a widely-used thing."
#NowFacebookIsDown was trending on Twitter on Friday following a Facebook service interruption that led to users from the U.S., the UK and the Philippines getting intermittent access to the world's most popular social networking website. For more than half an hour, millions of users who attempted to log in were greeted with the following message:
"Sorry, something went wrong. We're working on getting this fixed as soon as we can."
This is the second time in a few months that Facebook has experienced an outage, with the first happening last June. A Facebook spokesperson confirmed the outage but did not specify its cause.
"Earlier this morning, some people had trouble accessing Facebook for a short time," he says. "We quickly investigated and have fully restored service for everyone. We're sorry for the inconvenience."
Well, that's that. Facebook is back online and we can heave a sigh of relief as we go back to socializing with our virtual friends. At least Brink and his colleagues at the Los Angeles Police Department will have one less thing to worry about now that users are happily posting their breakfast photos once again.