back to article Instagram is testing feature that tells panicking users the service is broken again

Facebook-owned Instagram is to start testing a new feature which informs users they may not be able to post or view snaps of dinner, memes, selfies, or whatever it is people are interested in showing off to others because the service is broken. The announcement follows a high-profile outage that affected the entirety of …

  1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    What is wrong with a 404?

    Perfectly good in my day.

    I dunno, the youth of today...

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: What is wrong with a 404?

      Or the IIRR procedure (Is It Really Raining) it consists of ooening a door or window and sticking a body part outside, if it gets wet rain is a likely cause. The IT equivalent being the turning on or signing into the relavent service, got nothing? The service is probably out, assuming your equipment is functioning.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: What is wrong with a 404?

        In our case it resulted in lots of people wandering upto my desk and asking if the IT overlords were blocking Whatsapp

    2. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

      Re: What is wrong with a 404?

      A 404? You were lucky! In my day we had to wait for a letter to be delivered with the results of each DNS query.

      1. heyrick Silver badge

        Re: What is wrong with a 404?

        DNS queries? You're lucky. In my day one had to take the bus to the local library and beg to be allowed to look up the information on the microfiche machine.

        1. VonDutch

          Re: What is wrong with a 404?

          Microfiche? You're lucky. In my day we had to join an exodus and wait for a prophet to descend from the mountain with a response carved in to stone tablets.

          1. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
            Flame

            Re: What is wrong with a 404?

            In my day we had to wait for the tectonic plates to shift, to form mountains, before a prophet could descend from one.

            1. ecofeco Silver badge

              Re: What is wrong with a 404?

              In my day we got nothing and liked it!

            2. HildyJ Silver badge
              Windows

              Re: What is wrong with a 404?

              You had prophets? In my day we had to wait for the sky god to strike a bush with lightening and set it on fire so our tribe's shaman could read the signs.

              1. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
                Facepalm

                Re: What is wrong with a 404?

                "strike a bush with lightening" ???

                Lightening = making something lighter.

                Lightning = sky spark

                1. Cuddles Silver badge

                  Re: What is wrong with a 404?

                  Clearly you can't read a bush in the dark.

        2. katrinab Silver badge
          Paris Hilton

          Re: What is wrong with a 404?

          In my day, you had to download your /etc/hosts file over ftp ...

        3. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: What is wrong with a 404?

          >DNS queries? You're lucky.

          We did actually used to email copies of /etc/hosts to each other.

          Back in the 90s (which we all know were only 15 years ago)

          1. katrinab Silver badge
            Windows

            Re: What is wrong with a 404?

            30 years ago.

            MacOSX has now been out longer than Classic MacOS was at the time it was obsoleted.

            Windows XP was released almost 20 years ago (25th October). When Windows XP was released, Windows 1 was 16 years old. MS DOS 1 was just over 20 years old.

            On 8th January next year, we will be able to say that there is more time between that day and the launch of Windows XP than between the launch of XP and MS DOS.

            1. heyrick Silver badge

              Re: What is wrong with a 404?

              "30 years ago."

              Perhaps this explains that annoying grey haired git that stares out of my mirror. I wish that guy would sod off and leave me in peace.

              1. gerdesj Silver badge

                Re: What is wrong with a 404?

                Hair ... yes, I remember hair.

      2. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

        Re: In my day we had to wait for a letter to be delivered

        ISTR it was 2 1/2d if you didn't lick the envelope.

        In those days we were so trusting: No MITM altering the contents of your letters.

    3. T. F. M. Reader

      Re: What is wrong with a 404?

      Despite the entertaining "in my day" responses, specifically for 404 (Resource Not Found) the service must be available in the first place.

      1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

        Re: Despite the entertaining "in my day" responses

        You're no fun.

    4. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge

      Re: What is wrong with a 404?

      The most recent outage was due to the BGP routes getting withdrawn. There wasn't a way for the server to respond with a 404 ( or 500 ).

    5. jason_derp Silver badge

      Re: What is wrong with a 404?

      If Instagram is your job, it's important. You don't just sit in front of a workless laptop screen when you can't connect to your work VPN. At least, if your boss asked if that's what you'd do, you'd lie and say "no". If you're your own boss, it's a bit harder to not deal with that sort of thing.

      1. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

        Re: What is wrong with a 404?

        "If Instagram is your job..."

        There's your problem right there.

        1. Mark 85 Silver badge

          Re: What is wrong with a 404?

          Instagram not equal to job unless you're an "influencer" or some advertising type. Ok.. even then, it's not a real job by some definition of "job".

          1. jason_derp Silver badge

            Re: What is wrong with a 404?

            if you're getting paid for it, its a job. "IT people don't really work. They just sit in front of machines moving electrical charges around all day. They're not saving lives like nurses and doctors. Besides, it's all so frivolous. Nobody dead cares if the internet works, and we're all going to die. A solar storm could wipe it all out in an instant one day anyways."

            It's an easy (and sad) game to play, belittling the jobs of others.

            1. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

              Re: What is wrong with a 404?

              It took me a while to decide exactly which fallacy you were working with there, but I'm going to put it under strawman.

              1. jason_derp Silver badge

                Re: What is wrong with a 404?

                Scarecrows are scarecrows.

            2. heyrick Silver badge
              Flame

              Re: What is wrong with a 404?

              "They're not saving lives like nurses"

              Who get shit pay, long hours, increasing amounts of abuse for things they have no control over, and damn near zero respect. Back when the pandemic was at its worst, everybody felt good by clapping. How about provisions, supplies, PPE and funding?

              They'd probably have less stress and more pay trying to cut it as "influencers", so your point is...?

              1. jason_derp Silver badge

                Re: What is wrong with a 404?

                I'm not sure what your point is actually. Jobs don't count unless you're underpaid and overworked? My point is just that jobs are jobs. There's not some magical Scotsman job somewhere to aspire to, if you get paid for work, it is a job.

    6. Trigonoceps occipitalis Silver badge

      Re: What is wrong with a 404?

      Of course some ISPs take it upon themselves to replace the 404 page with helpful* search suggestions.

      * for low values of helpful

      1. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: What is wrong with a 404?

        ISPs do that with NXDOMAIN responses. Not 404s.

        Websites themselves sometimes do it with 404s, but in those cases they do tend to be somewhat helpful.

  2. heyrick Silver badge

    Seems to me that there's an obvious flaw in this plan

    If the service is really buggered, how will it be able to notify the users?

    1. AMBxx Silver badge

      Re: Seems to me that there's an obvious flaw in this plan

      Twitter is pretty good for notifications! Not sure Z will go for that though.

    2. T. F. M. Reader

      Re: Seems to me that there's an obvious flaw in this plan

      If the notification originates locally on the client device (which will know if there is no connectivity) then it'll work.

    3. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge

      Re: Seems to me that there's an obvious flaw in this plan

      Presumably the app will check a third party service to check for outages.

      1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

        Re: Presumably the app will check a third party service to check for outages.

        That would no doubt be Twitter.

    4. Giles C Silver badge

      Re: Seems to me that there's an obvious flaw in this plan

      I was thinking the same, if the local device can’t connnect doesn’t it just fail to load (no idea never use it).

      All you need is a mobile tower to drop and people will start a mass panic as “the internet is down”

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Seems to me that there's an obvious flaw in this plan

        You would presumably also check if you can connect to 8.8.8.8 and Radio4

        If Radio4 is down you open the safe and follow orders.....

        1. heyrick Silver badge

          Re: Seems to me that there's an obvious flaw in this plan

          Am I the only one scared by the idea that Johnson has written a letter of last resort?

    5. HildyJ Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Seems to me that there's an obvious flaw in this plan - OMZ

      It's not important to Zuck that it works, it's only important that his sheep (Zheep?) believe that it will work.

  3. T. F. M. Reader

    I call BS...

    They just want to increase profits by saving on infrastructure, and this is their way to manage the load. The algorithmics of who should be shown the notification is pretty straightforward.

  4. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    Halloween this month

    I'll make a new gravestone for the front yard with their logo and "Facebook died, 404" on it.

  5. ecofeco Silver badge

    Oh FFS

    We already know when the parrot is dead. It's obvious, innit?

    1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

      Re: Oh FFS

      It's not dead, it's just pining for the fjords.

  6. iron Silver badge

    I don't have, nor have I ever had, an account with Instagram or any of Zuck's evil empire but I always know when they are broken and usually the cause too.

    How? I have this awesome service for such things called... The Register!

  7. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    "We're testing a new feature"

    Looking forward to reading about how the feature broke down and was utterly useless the next time FaceBook suffers an outage . . .

  8. TheMeerkat Bronze badge

    Someone in Russia sent me a question via Viber asking if Facebook, Instagram and, more importantly, WhatsApp were working in the U.K. as well. I suspect they wondered if Mr Putin decided to block them all or they simply were down…

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