What Does "Facebook Session Expired" Mean — or Were You Also Recently Logged Out of Facebook?

Nearly a million social media users couldn't use Facebook or Instagram on the morning of March 5, 2024.

Brandon Charles - Author

Mar. 5 2024, Published 2:51 p.m. ET

A Facebook app on a phone screen with other apps.
Source: Getty Images

Were you also not able to read Facebook on the morning of March 5, 2024? Were you able to scroll through Instagram? If you weren’t, you weren’t alone. Downdetector reported 625,934 Facebook and 100,011 Instagram outages that day, peaking at 10:31 a.m. EST. Thousands of Facebook Messenger, Meta Quest, Threads, and Whatsapp users were also affected.

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A few hours later users were beginning to be able to log back in, and most everything appeared to be back to normal on all Meta social media platforms. But you may have had to log back into Facebook and Instagram, something you might not have had to do for months.

Facebook logo on a phone screen.
Source: Getty Images
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What does "Facebook session expired" mean? What about "unexpected error"?

Before you were prompted to log back in you may have received a "session expired" message when you tried to visit Facebook on your device. The message is pretty simple: your session on Facebook has expired. You may have then encountered an "unexpected error" message when trying to log back in. Typically this can be remedied by checking and fixing your Internet connection or clearing your browser or cache. On rare occasions like the March 5, 2024 outage, there was nothing the user could do; it needed to be remedied by Meta, which it was a few hours later.

What does "error code 1" mean on Facebook?

Similar to the unexpected error message, the error code 1 message from Facebook means the social media platform can’t connect with the server. Typically this is remedied by taking the same steps you’d do when you get the unexpected error message (reset your server, check your network, clear your cache, etc.) but once again, for people that saw this message on March 5, 2024, it was due to Facebook. Unfortunately, there was nothing the user could have done to remedied that morning’s outage.

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Facebook logo on a phone screen with a pink background.
Source: Getty Images

What happened with the Meta outage on March 5, 2024?

Communications Director at Meta Andy Stone posted to Twitter/X about the outage: "Earlier today, a technical issue caused people to have difficulty accessing some of our services. We resolved the issue as quickly as possible for everyone who was impacted, and we apologize for any inconvenience."

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Yes, the guy that works for Facebook/Meta used Twitter/X to let people know that Facebook/Meta was down for some users. How else was he going to get the news out? Facebook might have been down for him too.

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According to a report in The Hill, it looks like Meta’s problem may have extended beyond their platforms like Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, and Threads. “There are a number of services having trouble with at least parts of their systems, particularly the ability to log into websites,” said cybersecurity expert Matthew Green. “This may indicate a common cause, like a failure at a major cloud services provider. At the moment nobody knows exactly what’s happening.”

Though uncommon, the platforms Meta runs do occasionally go down. The Verge noted that this outage was similar to the Meta outage from 2021 that affected Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp for several hours. All things considered, a couple hour outage every three years is a pretty remarkable track record.

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