Share article:
Share article:

Belgium in Brief: Message Not Sent

Credit: Belga/Screengrab

After an outage that lasted about six hours, social media platforms Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger slowly started working again in the middle of last night.

While Twitter users mostly enjoyed the opportunity to poke fun at Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the outage had major consequences for individuals, companies and businesses around the world.

Aside from preventing around 3.5 billion people across the world from communicating on these platforms for many hours, the outage affected many small businesses and creators who rely on these services for their income.

Additionally, as many people use Facebook to log into other apps and websites, the outage also resulted in people not being able to access their accounts for online shopping websites, their smart TVs and other internet-connected devices.

On a smaller, more personal scale, I received an old-school SMS for the first time in a long time and spent 10 seconds wondering what that sound was before realising I had forgotten what a regular text notification sounded like.

Just to underline how much we’ve collectively come to rely on social media, Belgian telecom providers also reported that regular phone traffic (texts and calls that do not use the internet) went up by roughly 33% between 6:00 PM and midnight.

A more in-depth explanation of what happened can be found in this article.

How did you experience the outage? Let @johnstonjules know (or @maithechini, as she wrote it today) 

BUT WAIT, one last thing: Want news from The Brussels Times in your inbox every morning? Sign up for The Recap, a free daily newsletter containing all the stories you need to know from the day before. It goes great with your morning coffee. 

Belgium in Brief is a free daily roundup of the top stories to get you through your lunch break conversations. To receive it straight to your inbox every day, sign up below:

1. All Facebook apps working again after outage that affected 3.5 billion

Facebook has announced that its apps — which include Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger and Oculus – are once again working after a six-hour global outage on Monday evening. Read more.

2. Booster vaccine from Pfizer approved for all adults

The Covid-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer/BioNTech can be used as a booster shot for healthy adults and people with weakened immune systems, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) decided on Monday. Read more.

3. ‘No evidence’ that Covid-19 vaccines pose risks to fertility or pregnancy

Concerns regarding the Covid-19 vaccines’ effect on fertility are one of the most important reasons that people – particularly younger ones – hesitate to get a shot, Fatima Boudjaoui, spokesperson for the Joint Community Commission (Cocom), told The Brussels Times. Read More.

4. ‘Do not leave your face mask at home just yet,’ warns Van Gucht

Even though the rules for wearing a face mask have been relaxed in Belgium since 1 October, virologist Steven Van Gucht still urges people not to leave the house without one. Read More.

5. Congolese student whose expulsion failed may now stay

A 20-year-old student from Congo whose expulsion was ordered but failed to take place will now be allowed to remain in the country, according to the Office for Foreigners. Read more.

6. Belgium launches Facebook campaign to slow secondary migration of Afghans

The Belgian Foreign Office launched a Facebook campaign on Tuesday intended to slow down the influx of secondary migrants from Afghanistan to Belgium. Read more.

7. European flag wrongly displayed in Belgium’s CovidSafe app

The official flag of the European Union is wrongly depicted in the CovidSafeBE app, as the 12 stars are upside down. Read more.

Latest news

Increase in number of people ‘asking King for mercy’ through royal pardons
More and more people living in Belgium have been seeking royal pardons, mainly for fines, largely as a result of it now being possible to send in ...
England now accepting cheaper Covid tests from fully vaccinated travellers
Fully vaccinated travellers who enter England from non-red countries will only be required to book a lateral flow test to take following their ...
Re-introducing face masks indoors considered as Covid-19 situation worsens
Belgium's council of ministers will hold an emergency meeting on Monday to discuss the worsening epidemiological situation, and reintroducing face ...
Federal museums to receive €2.9 million booster shot
Federal museums will receive an additional €2.9 million in support from the government for the fiscal year 2021, of which the first payouts will be ...
European Parliament emphasises healthy food and animal welfare in EU Farm to Fork Strategy
The European Parliament adopted this week a resolution on the EU Farm to Fork Strategy calling for a fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly food ...
Threats of strike action could affect Brussels’ STIB network from Monday
Brussels public transport operator STIB's trams, buses and metros could be affected from Monday 25 October onwards as the union representing the ...
Number of international adoptions in Belgium continues to drop
The number of regulated international adoptions authorised by Belgium further dropped in 2020, continuing an ongoing decreasing trend. Last ...
Disaster drill with emergency services held at Brussels Airport
Around 300 people took part in a disaster drill held was organised on Saturday by Brussels Airport in collaboration with external emergency services ...
Austria presents bill to legalise euthanasia
Austria’s government on Saturday presented its proposals for legalising assisted suicide, in response to a Constitutional Court ruling that the ...
Brussels’ Museum Night Fever draws in some 12,000 visitors
Some 12,000 participants took part in the 14th edition of Museum Night Fever in Brussels, with the 29 participating museums filled to the maximum ...
Relaunch of 10,000 steps campaign to get Flemish people moving
The Flemish government is breathing new life into its 10,000 steps campaign to get people in the region moving after a recent survey found that a ...
‘No scientific basis’ for giving everyone third dose, vaccine expert says
The head of Belgium's Vaccination Taskforce has argued that there is not enough scientific evidence to support the Flemish government's decision to ...