Instagram wants to let you know when it’s down…on Instagram

What you need to know

  • Instagram is testing a new feature to bring clarity to temporary issues affecting the app.
  • The new feature will live at the top of the Activity Feed.
  • It will notify users of outages or technical issues as well as when they are resolved.

These don’t help when the entire app goes down, of course.

Last week, Facebook and its owned businesses went offline for almost six hours. The outage affected not only Facebook but Instagram, WhatsApp, Oculus, and more.

Today, Instagram has announced that it is beginning to test a new feature that hopes to bring clarity to some of these situations when they occur. The new feature will alert users of outages and technical issues at the top of the Activity Feed in the app as well as when they are resolved.

Through conversations with our community and extensive research, we know how confusing it can be when temporary issues happen on Instagram. When they impact engagement or distribution, we also know that it can lead people to think that the problems are unique to them, based on what they post. That lack of clarity can be frustrating, which is why we want it to be easier to understand what’s going on, directly from us.

We’re testing a new feature that will notify you in your Activity Feed when we experience an outage or technical issue, and when it is resolved. We won’t send a notification every single time there is an outage, but when we see that people are confused and looking for answers, we’ll determine if something like this could help make things clearer. This test will run in the US and go on for the next few months. Just like any experiment, this may be something we roll out more widely, but we want to start small and learn. And if it makes sense to, we’ll expand to more people.

This feature will be handy for smaller outages and issues affecting parts of the app but, of course, will most likely be useless if the entire service goes down again like it did last week.

Regardless, it’s always good to bring as much transparency where you can with these kinds of problems.