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A Facebook loading error message. "We're working to resolve the issue as soon as possible", Facebook tweeted.

Most of the conversation on Twitter was about the consumer side of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, which all went down for hours on Wednesday, and were still offline by late afternoon.

An hour later, the company confirmed that its problem wasn't related to a DDoS attack.

Some users reflected on how the outage had exposed their reliance on the social media networks. Instead, they were greeted with an error message letting them know that they couldn't connect.

Other users are seeing maintenance messages from Facebook stating that "Facebook will be back soon" and that the site "is down for requirement maintenance".

Viewers of Google-owned YouTube reported similar slowdowns, and Google Drive users also had serious problems, pointing to a potential larger issue within the organisation's data centers and connectivity links. We expect this to be resolved shortly.

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As of December 31, Facebook has more than 2.32 billion monthly active users.

The outages appear to be concentrated around the United States and Europe, as well as eastern Australia.

On Wednesday, another outage affected Gmail and Google Drive users around the world.

Downdetector.com has seen a spike in problem reports since about 11:00 CST. I have still been unable to post anything, even though the social media site is accessible.

The outages were reported in the US on the East and West Coasts, as well as in parts of Europe and in other parts of the world, according to Downdetector. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall.