If you had been using Instagram's Android app in the past hour or so, you might have noticed that an error had been causing it to crash seconds after launching, rendering it almost unusable. You weren't alone: users from multiple regions flooded Twitter with complaints about this phenomenon. According to Downdetector, this bug first appeared around 12:44PM EDT today (September 23rd) — roughly matching the time when this author also started scratching head over the seemingly random crashes. At the time of writing this article, there were still fresh tweets grumbling about this issue.
A Meta representative confirmed to famed software engineer Jane Wong that the company is aware of the outage and it's working to restore service "as quickly as possible." While this bug appeared to be exclusive to Instagram's Android app, Wong told Engadget that the iOS counterpart was also loading very slowly for her, indicating a backend issue.
At present, users who are able to open the app have noted limited functionality, including an inability to access Reels or DMs. We'll be monitoring the situation as service gradually resumes, and will update if Meta provides additional details on what went wrong.
Update 9/22/22 2:29PM EDT: Meta says Instagram is back to normal as of 2:25PM EDT, though it stopped short at sharing what went wrong. We will share more if we hear back.