Social media websites Facebook and Instagram went down early Tuesday morning, preventing people around the world from communicating through those channels.
However, Facebook denied that it had anything to do with outside hacking; the problem was blamed on its internal configuration systems. According to Laura Mandaro of USA Today, the glitch affected access from PCs and Facebook's mobile app in the United States, Asia, Australia and the United Kingdom.
"Earlier today many people had trouble accessing Facebook and Instagram," Facebook said in a statement to USA Today. "This was not the result of a third party attack but instead occurred after we introduced a change that affected our configuration systems. We moved quickly to fix the problem, and both services are back to 100 percent for everyone."
Hackers from the Lizard Squad group also tried to take credit for the social media outages, which Facebook denied. According to USA Today, Facebook and Instagram users were greeted with either "this webpage is not available" or, for users of the Safari web browser, "the server where this page is located isn't responding."
"Sorry, something went wrong," Facebook posted during its outage. "We're working on it and we'll get it fixed as soon as we can."
According to Wilfred Chan and Saeed Ahmed of CNN, Facebook and Instagram went down shortly after 12:10 a.m. ET. Both sites were offline for about an hour.
Facebook and Instagram users flocked to Twitter, using the hashtag #facebookdown to describe the outage. CNN reported that some users poked fun at the outage, while others took a more serious tone.
"I don't always go on Twitter, but when I do it's to check if Facebook is down," Nick Chandler wrote on Twitter, which included a meme.
"Facebook is down. Start living in the real world," Sanam Baloch wrote on Twitter, including an emoticon of a face sticking its tongue out.
"We shall speak of this day in history class someday," Molly McIssac wrote on Twitter. "We survived. We all survived."
All joking aside about the social media outages, Simon Jenkins of The Guardian mentioned that the downtime Facebook experienced shows how vulnerable digital information can get.
"Digital is inherently insecure," Jenkins wrote. "Anyone who claims otherwise is lying."
Jenkins argued that "no such thing as digital security" exists, adding that "someone somewhere will break it."
"The internet is clearly at a turning point," Jenkins wrote. "The danger comes not from power failures or hackers as such. Any electronic device is subject to failure."
USA Today reported that Tuesday's temporary loss of service could be Facebook's biggest outage since September 2010, when the social network was down for about 2.5 hours. About 1.35 billion active users log on to Facebook, and Instagram, also run by Facebook, has about 300 million users.