Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram - all social platforms owned by Facebook - are having issues this afternoon. Downdetector shows a spike in users reporting problems after 4pm on 4 October, and users have also taken to Twitter to say that Facebook and Instagram servers are down.

Facebook's Andy Stone has also tweeted to explain the company is aware of the issue.

More than 1 billion people use Facebook every day, so it's 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? 

Is Facebook down? 

It might sound churlish, but it’s 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 social networks 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 mobile data 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

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.

Check 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.