The day Facebook went dark
Updated 1652 GMT (0052 HKT) October 6, 2021
(CNN)A businessman in Atlanta changed his passwords because he thought his phone had been hacked.
A Long Island woman who sells vintage items on Instagram lost revenue when she was forced to cancel a sale event. And a graduate student in Texas, freed from the distractions of social media, whipped through four assignments.
For some six hours Monday, the ripple effects of Facebook's massive outage reverberated across the US and around the world.
From Mumbai to Mexico City, billions of people were abruptly cast adrift when Facebook vanished from the internet and its family of platforms, Instagram and WhatsApp, stopped loading new content. (Another, briefer Facebook outage occurred Friday.)
The impact was felt almost everywhere. Facebook alone has almost 3 billion users -- more than a third of the world's population. As one web analyst told CNN, for a lot of people, "Facebook is the internet."
Photo notifications and birthday reminders stopped. Online businesses sputtered. Messaging went silent. And countless people struggled to adapt.
Here's how the outage unfolded.
In the first minutes, panic and confusion
When the apps first went dark or stopped updating shortly before midday on the East Coast, it was unclear what was going on. Confused users refreshed their screens.
The outage happened hours after a "60 Minutes" segment in which Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen claimed the company knows its platforms are used to spread hate, violence and misinformation.
Speculation grew on social media. Was it a data breach? A massive hack? Part of the ongoing Mercury retrograde?
While some mulled out-of-this world theories, others took a more earthly approach.
"I thought, 'My phone has been hacked.' I had to change all my passwords and update my iPhone software," said businessman Tete Macharia.
With every passing minute, the uncertainty and conspiracy theories grew. So Macharia, who owns a freight and fo