The BBC experienced a major technical issue on Thursday morning, with all of its websites and several of its digital services offline.
“We’re aware of a technical issue affecting the BBC website and are working to fix this now. We’ll update you as soon as we can,” the BBC press office said on Twitter.
The internet did not cope well with this news.
There was not immediate word on what caused the issue. It is entirely possible the problem is due to internal system problems, and not a third party. Regardless, the apparent temporary collapse of BBC News, iPlayer, live streams of radio and TV stations online and virtually every single one of the Beeb’s digital presence was so shocking, that users on Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites took the situation as a sign of the apocalypse anyway.
“Oh oh, the BBC website is down. RUN FOR COVER, THE END IS NIGH!,” added @domcovkid.
Others pointed out that the outage could (theoretically) have serious consequences, since the broadcast of Radio 4 is still supposedly one of the perhaps apocryphal “letters of last resort”, by which crews of nuclear submarines are assured that civilisation has not collapsed:
“Are we at war? BBC website is down,” asked @kezzer70.
Still others wondered if the outage was the sign of a different sort of apocalypse — that facing BBC funding in the context of 2016’s wide-ranging review of the license fee.
… Or if a certain popular actor’s appearance in an Agatha Christie three-parter proved too much for the iPlayer to bear.
“BBC iPlayer is down. And I THINK we all know why. *Stares accusingly at Aidan Turner’s abs* *Continues staring*” said @laurenbravo.
Finally Twitter did at least take solace in the fact that the BBC has a truly excellent error page.
“BBC website is down. You know it’s bad when the chalkboard picture is on fire,” said @imrichardmorris.
As is the way of these things, however, the situation was not long-lasting: the BBC was back online, at least temporarily, by 11 am on Thursday.