Instagram testing new system to notify users of service outages
Facebook and its subsidiary platforms, including Instagram and WhatsApp, appear to have learned a valuable lesson from the recent worldwide service outage, although we suspect the same cannot be said for its learnings from whistleblower Frances Haugen's testimony. Now, Instagram is testing in-app notifications that would alert users in the event of outages and other technical issues. Here are more details.
Last week, Facebook and all its services collapsed worldwide for nearly six hours. Its internal diagnostics tools being offline exacerbated the problem, originally caused by faulty BGP routing. The outage chipped 5% off Facebook's share price and caused Mark Zuckerberg's net worth to fall by $6 billion. Although unrelated, the outage came just a day after Haugen's stint on 60 Minutes, the television show.
In a blog post yesterday, Instagram said it has begun testing new alerts that would show up in the users' Activity Feed with other in-app notifications. The alerts would let users know of specific issues with some app features and widespread problems on the platform. Instead of notifying for every minor issue, Instagram plans to notify only if the issues may cause widespread confusion.
Instagram will be testing the outage notification system in the US "for the next few months." The platform hinted at the possibility of a wider rollout for the outage notification system if the initial testing results suggest it worked well. In the same blog post, Instagram touched upon a new "account status" section of the app that would alert users about account-related activities.
Instagram said "account status" would start with notifications about removed posts and when your account "is at risk of being disabled" due to rule violations. It could also help address the Instagram-specific shadowbanning issue. Instagram added that in the coming months, "account status" will let people know "how their content is being distributed and recommended across different parts of Instagram."