Australia’s first online census appears to have crashed as millions of households attempt to log in on Tuesday night.
Social media is awash with complaints from people who cannot access the site, or attempting to submit their form has failed, but the ABS kept responding that everything was fine.
— Duke Fountain (@meisesilio) August 9, 2016
Business Insider attempted to access the ABS site at around 8pm and received an error message.
By 8.38pm, they acknowledged there was a problem:
The ABS & Census websites are currently experiencing an outage. We're working to restore the service. We will keep you updated. Thank you.
— Census Australia (@ABSCensus) August 9, 2016
The ABS told people who had error messages earlier in the evening to wait 20 minutes and Census spokesman told Fairfax media that the site was operating “as expected” with “more than 1.3 million successful online submissions”.
That figure is around 10% on the expected total. Census officials previously said the site had the capacity to handle one million submissions an hour, which was “twice the capacity we expect to need”.
— Sarah McLain (@SarahMcLain_) August 9, 2016
More than 90 minutes after admitting there was a problem, the ABS website looked like this:
At 11pm, they gave up and admitted defeat on census night:
ABS & Census website are unavailable. The service won't be restored tonight. We will update you in AM. We apologise for the inconvenience.
— Australian Bureau of Statistics (@ABSStats) August 9, 2016
The Census call centre has also been overloaded and people are being told to call back tomorrow when they’ll hopefully be less busy.
Australians have until September 23 to complete the census.
People reported a range of error messages:
— Bob (@StankoBob) August 9, 2016
— Brian Gibson (@GibboFootball) August 9, 2016
— Dark Matter Zine (@DarkMatterzine) August 9, 2016
Did my #census tonight but wasn't able to submit nor even save and exit. Why every1 must be doing theirs at the same time, come on people…
— Anna (@AnnaAreyd) August 9, 2016
— Clem Hall (@channelclem) August 9, 2016
Others are sanguine about the situation:
Well that was good in theory! Had 5 pers done but can't submit or save, site now down. Will have to redo tomorrow ? #census
— Geek Street (@geekstreet01) August 9, 2016
Others, less so:
— Rosie Williams (@Info_Aus) August 9, 2016
— alby (@albysouth) August 9, 2016
Just got expired session trying to save #census. All data lost. ABS will need to pay me to do it again for 6 people!
— Mike Thompson (@Mike_Thompson) August 9, 2016
This #censusfail tonight isn't doing anything to reassure me about ABS capacity to keep my data safe.
— Anarchic Sheep (@noplaceforsheep) August 9, 2016
And of course the comedy memes are starting to emerge:
— Peter Tonoli (@peter_tonoli) August 9, 2016
— Kym Phillpotts (@kphillpotts) August 9, 2016
Along with the sarcasm:
To be totally fair to the ABS, no-one could have anticipated that millions of Australians would all choose to log in on a single night
— Ben Eltham (@beneltham) August 9, 2016
— Fake Yarra Trams (@fakeyarratrams) August 9, 2016
[email protected] – that $55,000 you spent on load testing? I hope you kept the receipt… #CensusFail
— Michael Wyres (@mwyres) August 9, 2016
I admit I did not think the ABS would join the boycott of the census.
— Bad Take Bernie (@bernietb) August 9, 2016
Look, I would have been disappointed if it had all gone according to plan. Makes up for the Y2K fizzer. #census2016
— Elissa Milne (@ElissaMilne) August 9, 2016
Back in 2012, Click Frenzy gained instant notoriety when its website crashed minutes after launching:
— Cam (@CamScott15) August 9, 2016
Scientist Darren Saunders summed up the tragedy of an organisation that’s been facing growing reputational damage over recent weeks:
All jokes about #censusfail aside. It’s actually really sad to see such an important institution and research tool trashed.
— Dr Darren Saunders (@whereisdaz) August 9, 2016
And it got noticed globally on Twitter:
#CensusFail is now trending WorldWide, ranking 1 [14:06]
— TopTrends WORLDWIDE (@TopTrendWW) August 9, 2016
But it seemed to be working just fine earlier in the evening when the small business minister, Michael McCormack, who’s responsible for the Census, jumped online:
— Michael McCormack MP (@M_McCormackMP) August 9, 2016
Meanwhile, despite five years of planning the ABS has also been telling people that the letters for Census night are still being delivered:
@Xb_Katie Letters are still being delivered. Please complete ASAP after receiving and fill out as though it were census night.
— Census Australia (@ABSCensus) August 9, 2016
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