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A slew of Facebook -owned social media sites are running again following hours-long outages worldwide on Wednesday.

The American-based internet company announced, "We're aware that some people are now having trouble accessing the Facebook family of apps".

Instagram issued a similar tweet, saying it knew the situation was "frustrating" and that the company was hard at work to resolve it.

Facebook posted to Twitter reassuring users that the site would be back online.

Canterbury Police posted a warning on Twitter asking Kiwis not to call 111 over the issue: "Unfortunately we can not do anything about this because, you know, they're based in America and we're the police".

The outages appear to be concentrated around the USA and Europe, as well as eastern Australia.

On Twitter, most users complained about the consumer sides of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp being down.

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"Account Temporarily Unavailable", was a message that some Facebook users from across the globe discovered on checking their pages. Users have written in from Canada, Las Vegas, and Turkey to note outages there as well.

Outages for large internet platforms like Facebook or YouTube aren't unusual, but in the past they have typically restored service within an hour or two.

Downdetector.com has seen a spike in problem reports since about 11:00 CST.

According to tracking website Down Detector, the problems hit Facebook users in Europe and the United States hardest.

The story is developing...

Following Facebook on Twitter may be the easiest way to get future updates about the outage, as well as an alert when the problem is fixed.