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Massive internet outage hits U.S. East Coast taking down Gmail, Slack, and Amazon AWS

Daniel Howley
·Technology Editor
·2-min read

Huge swaths of some of the biggest websites on the internet went down Tuesday afternoon, impacting businesses and their employees who are working from home as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The outages, which were first reported around 11:00 a.m. EST, hit companies ranging from Amazon (AMZN) and its Amazon Web Services and Yahoo Finance parent company Verizon (VZ) to at home necessities including Zoom (ZM), Google’s Gmail (GOOG, GOOGL), and Slack (WORK). People using some internet providers, however, were still able to access the services.

Photo by: John Nacion/STAR MAX/IPx 2020 10/14/20 Google offices in Chelsea, Midtown Manhattan, New York City on October 14, 2020 during the worldwide coronavirus pandemic. (NYC)
Photo by: John Nacion/STAR MAX/IPx 2020 10/14/20 Google offices in Chelsea, Midtown Manhattan, New York City on October 14, 2020 during the worldwide coronavirus pandemic. (NYC)

According to Downdetector, the outages were clustered along the northeast portion of the U.S., hitting states from Virginia to Massachusetts.

A map of the U.S. east coast showing internet service outages for Google's Gmail. (Image: Downdetector)
A map of the U.S. east coast showing internet service outages for Google's Gmail. (Image: Downdetector)

Despite the reports to Downdetector, Amazon’s AWS service dashboard showed that the service was functioning as normal. The company said the problem was related to an issue with an external provider. Verizon, similarly, acknowledged there was an outage and said it was working to resolve it.

The broad array of services impacted comes as a time when huge numbers of employees continue to work from home. Without the necessary internet infrastructure to enable them to connect to their employers, workers are unable to do even basic tasks including speaking with their supervisors and colleagues.

One of the last major internet outages occurred in August 2020, when internet service provider CenturyLink went down, taking a number of other businesses with it including CloudFlare and Hulu.

Clarification: While some internet users were unable to access the impacted services, those on other service providers were unaffected.

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