Facebook Outage Results in Calls to Sheriff’s Department

Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson in "Zoolander"

Stay calm, everyone—those friend requests and status updates will still be there in an hour. Facebook caused a minor panic on Friday, Aug. 1, when it experienced a brief outage, preventing users from being able to log in and access the site. Cut off from their news feeds and Candy Crush notifications, some desperate folks apparently resorted to calling the police.

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"#Facebook is not a Law Enforcement issue," Sgt. Burton Brink of the L.A. County Sheriff's Department tweeted on Aug. 1. "Please don't call us about it being down, we don't know when FB will be back up!"

Asked by a follower whether he was joking or whether people actually called about the Facebook outage, Brink replied, "Yes, we get calls all the time like this, cable TV, all sorts of things not working, they think we control." He later added: "Yes we got calls #facebookdown. That is why I sent out my previous msg to prevent them. Unk number received on 911 or reg number TY."

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Capt. Britta Steinbrenner of the LASD Information Bureau told NBC News that her office was "unaware of any such 911 Facebook calls," and that Brink was not on duty at the time. Brink himself then clarified that the calls "never made [it] past the station operator so there are no recordings of them," and that there were no calls made directly to the 911 emergency line.

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In any case, this is not the first time a law enforcement agency has had to remind the public of what qualifies as an "emergency." Back in August 2013, police in Fairfield, Conn., received "numerous" 911 calls regarding a Cablevision outage in the middle of Breaking Bad. "This is neither an emergency or a police related concern," the department wrote on Facebook. "Please direct your inquiries to Cablevision."

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