Instagram (and other Facebook services) suffered an extended outage last week that lasted multiple hours and briefly caused chaos across the internet, particularly in developing countries. Today, the company announced an update coming to its mobile app, letting users know when an outage is experienced.
This test is a U.S.-only one for the most part, and Facebook isn’t making any promises that it’ll make it permanent, only that it’ll be evaluating the results and see if it makes sense to expand it in the future.
“We won’t send a notification every single time there is an outage, but when we see that people are confused and looking for answers, we’ll determine if something like this could help make things clearer,” the Instagram team wrote.
As noted above, Instagram already suffered an extended outage on Monday last week, spanning around 6 hours in combination with other Facebook apps. Shortly after, Instagram later suffered a minor outage on Friday of the same week. There were reports on social media by users who claimed to have deleted their apps, turned off their Wi-Fi, even installed pending operating system updates. While not fixing the problem, a change like this would shed some light as to whether there is a problem at all.
Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp do not yet have similar features, but with userbases spanning a combined 3 billion (though with significant overlap), the company could consider rolling a similar status check feature for the other two as well. With Facebook working on merging all three services eventually, feature parity will eventually become more important than it is now.
Other than this, Instagram will also be rolling out a new Account Status page in the mobile app. If a post gets removed, you’ll see it there, along with why the post was removed. You’ll also be able to file an appeal to contest the removal, as well as see if your account is currently on a path to deletion.