Instagram has apologised after it briefly, accidentally suspended millions of users.
On Monday, many people opened the app to find a notification they had been suspended from the platform, apparently for violating its rules or “community guidelines”. Though the app offered them the option to appeal the decision, that appeared not to work.
The vast scale of the bug was clear as other accounts’ follower counts dropped significantly. The most followed person on the platform – Cristiano Ronaldo – lost 3 million of his 493 million followers, suggesting the total number affected could run into eight figures.
Instagram said soon after the bug was identified that it was aware of the problem and was working to fix it. But it said little more, and there is no way for users to contact the app for more information on outages or other problems.
It did not give any indication of what the problem was, or when or how people’s accounts would be made available again.
Hours after it began, Instagram said it had fixed the problem and apologised for any issues experienced by users.
We’ve resolved this bug now – it was causing people in different parts of the world to have issues accessing their accounts and caused a temporary change for some in number of followers. Sorry! 😵💫https://t.co/Q1FBOEI97D
— Instagram Comms (@InstagramComms) October 31, 2022
That same apology was quoted by Instagram boss Adam Mosseri, who wrote “our apologies”.
After the problem was fixed, users were able to access their accounts as normal and follower counts appeared to be restored to where they were before the bug went into effect.
The issue had caused particular consternation as it hit on Hallowe’en, leading many users to express concern that they would not be able to post pictures of their outfits if they were not able to get back into their account.
The problems came after a major outage at fellow Meta app, WhatsApp, just days before.