A recent study revealed that Facebook now accounts for 20 percent of all smartphone usage time, and in August it announced that 1 billion people used the site in a single day. With this huge popularity it’s always a big deal when access to the service is interrupted, and it’s not long before users end up at a page like this looking for explanations. So in the interests of public service we’ve put together a quick guide that will help you answer that chilling question - is Facebook down?
Update 14 March: If you're wondering what '#4 Application request limited reached' means on Facebook, you're not the only one. Facebook is down for many users in the UK and Europe. It appears to be a problem with the Facebook api (application program interface) receiving too many requests. It is stopping users log in, post a status, like and comment. It also appears to be affecting Facebook messenger for some users. If you're seeing the error on the Facebook app try using a desktop browser which appears to be working fine.
See also: How to adjust Facebook privacy settings
Is Facebook down?
It might sound churlish, but it’s actually very rare for Facebook itself to suffer much in the way of serious downtime. You don’t get to be one of the most used portals on the internet without a hugely robust server system, backups, and preventative measures to ward off hackers. One easy way to check whether the problem is down to Facebook itself is to access the site from another device. If your phone is having trouble, then using a laptop, tablet or switching from your Wi-Fi to 3G should answer that question. You can even ask friends or work colleagues if they can get onto the site will let you know whether the issue is local to your device or not.
If you use Twitter then search for the hashtag #isfacebookdown and you’ll usually find multiple entries if there is a problem. UK residents could also check the Down Detector website which monitors any issues on the site, or Down Right Now which is another excellent alternative. Obviously if there is a problem on Facebook then you can try reporting it via the aforementioned sites, or directly to its Twitter account, which is @facebook.
Is Facebook down? White screen & no news feed
We’ve seen many reports recently of app users experiencing a ‘white screen of death’, which is kind of poetic when you consider the company's main colour is blue. This error occurs when you try to launch the app and instead are met with a blank white screen where the news feed should be. It’s unclear exactly what is causing the issue, and for most users it tends to be a rather unsatisfactory case of waiting until things sort themselves out. There are a few things to try which we’ve seen work in certain instances.
Check your connection
Obviously the very first thing to check is whether your internet or 3G/4G connection is working. Sounds very basic, we know, but it’s an important one to tick off the list right at the beginning. If you’re not familiar with how to do this you just need to look at the top of the screen for the upside-down triangle made up of curved lines. Depending on the strength of your signal some of these may be greyed out, while others are filled in with black or white lines. If all of them are grey, or you see some kind of exclamation mark or cross attached to the icon, then the problem is most likely here. Go to your settings and try turning the Wi-Fi connection off and then back on again and see if that clears the problem.
Reload the app
If your internet connection is up and running then the next thing to try is shutting down the Facebook app itself and reloading it. On an Android device you’ll need to tap the recent apps icon, which is usually the square at the bottom of the screen found on either the left or right of the Home button, then swipe away the Facebook app to close it. On iOS you’ll need to double tap the Home button then swipe away the app in a similar fashion. For Windows Phone users you’ll need to hold down the back button and then tap the X on the Facebook app panel. If you use the dedicated Facebook app on a PC then you can either press Alt+F4 to close the app, or use the Task Manager menu, which can be accessed by holding down Ctrl+Shift+Esc.
Checking your web browser settings
Unless you’re accessing Facebook from your phone, you’ll be using a browser to reach the site. There are a few things here that could potentially cause a few problems. One good place to start is going into the settings and clearing the history and cache, as this could purge your browser of a stored version of the site which is problematic. Another thing to consider is whether you currently use security apps, such as Privacy Badger and Ghostery, or Ad Blockers. As these plugins, by their very nature, disable various functionality on a webpage, it could be that there is a conflict occurring somewhere. Adjust the settings systematically, turning one off then checking if the problem clears, and you might just find the culprit.