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Social media outages cause frustration for some Louisvillians

Seven hours without apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger meant a complete disconnect from family and friends for some in Louisville.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Fatema Zuhayli woke up Monday to a slew of new messages on her phone, some from her family in Syria, others from friends and refugees in Louisville. 

She had a busy morning and a free afternoon, so she waited to respond.

When she returned to her phone, a spinning circle sat at the top of her screen. 

"Connecting, connecting, still nothing there," she said later that afternoon, showing the problem to WHAS11 News.

WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook, and Messenger - none of them were working. She restarted her phone then called her kids for technical support. They told her she wasn't alone: there was a global outage and no one knew when it would be fixed.

For Fatema, that was a big problem. 

A relative in Syria had passed away and she needed to speak with her family. A close friend sent her kids off to college and Fatema needed to check in. Refugees in Louisville had reached out with questions and she needed to reply. 

She explained that the Muslim community in Louisville is dependent on WhatsApp. For many, especially refugees, it is the only way they keep in contact with loved ones and friends.

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Fatema has been connecting refugees in Louisville with resources and community events through direct messages and a note she puts out every Monday with the goings-on of Louisville's Muslim community. 

"Talking about it is nothing like feeling it," she said, describing the way people with important questions must feel, waiting for responses she can't send.

Eventually, the questions and their answers came - the apps were all back online by 7 p.m. 

Still, Fatema said she might have to explore more alternatives, in case this happens again.

Contact reporter Tom Lally at TLally@whas11.com or on Facebook or Twitter.

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