Breach Notification , Incident & Breach Response , Security Operations

Twitter, YouTube, Instagram Crippled by Massive Outages

Twitter Falters After Post Length for Twitter Blue Users Rises to 4,000 Characters
Twitter, YouTube, Instagram Crippled by Massive Outages

Three of the planet's largest social media platforms suffered outages Wednesday, blocking some users at Twitter, Instagram and YouTube from accessing their accounts.

See Also: User Entity & Behavior Analytics 101: Strategies to Detect Unusual Security Behaviors

At Twitter, many users received a message Wednesday saying they were "over the daily limit" and were unable to post. The problems began shortly after an announcement at 3 p.m. EST Wednesday that Twitter Blue subscribers in the United States could now have up to 4,000 characters in a single post.

Since Tesla boss Elon Musk took Twitter private in October and installed himself as CEO, the social media giant has cut more than two-thirds of its staff, leaving many wondering how long Twitter could continue to operate normally. That fear became a reality Wednesday, as Twitter faced one of the largest outages in its 16-year history.

"Twitter may not be working as expected for some of you. Sorry for the trouble. We're aware and working to get this fixed," the social media giant posted at 6:27 p.m. EST Wednesday.

The Downdetector site, which crowdsources reports of website and service outages, indicates problems began just before 4:30 p.m. EST Wednesday, and there were more than 9,000 reports of disruption between 4:55 p.m. and 5:10 p.m. EST before the reports dropped precipitously.

The Twitter outage persisted for hours for many users and forced them to use the scheduled tweets function to post updates. Some users were blocked from posting tweets and were told, "You are over the daily limit for sending tweets."

The micro-blogging site currently allows 2,400 tweets and 500 direct messages per user, according to Twitter's Help Center, meaning virtually all of the "over the daily limit" messages were in error.

YouTube, Instagram Users Also Feeling Pain

Wednesday's woes weren't confined to just Twitter.

YouTube says it's investigating the reasons behind an outage some of its users are experiencing. Users of the online video-sharing platform were greeted Wednesday with a server error 429 message. The YouTube outage was brief but pervasive, according to Downdetector, which says nearly 72,000 users reporting issues at 7:19 p.m. EST Wednesday before the situation returned to normal shortly after 8 p.m. EST.

"HTTP Error 429 is an HTTP response status code that indicates the client application has surpassed its rate limit, or number of requests they can send in a given period of time," according to HubSpot.

The social media pain didn't stop there.

Downdetector shows a spike in user reports of problems at online photo-sharing service Instagram. The reports started just before 2 p.m. EST and continued through 10 p.m. EST. The worst period occurred just before 4:30pm EST, when Downdetector received nearly 7,000 reports of problems.

Twitter, YouTube and Instagram did not immediately respond to requests from Information Security Media Group for additional details.

The trio of social media outages comes just a day after Microsoft suffered its second major cloud outage in less than two weeks.

The Seattle-area-based software and cloud computing giant reported late Monday night that some services, including Outlook.com webmail, became inaccessible for users in North America and beyond. The outage continued into Tuesday (see: Microsoft Experiences Second Major Cloud Outage in 2 Weeks).


About the Author

Prajeet Nair

Prajeet Nair

Assistant Editor, Global News Desk, ISMG

Nair previously worked at TechCircle, IDG, Times Group and other publications, where he reported on developments in enterprise technology, digital transformation and other issues.




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