FACT CHECK: Did Solar Flares Cause The Recent AT&T Outage?

Christine Sellers | Fact Check Reporter

A post shared on Facebook purports a recent AT&T outage was the result of “powerful solar flares.”

Verdict: False

The claim is false. The outage was caused by technical issues, not a solar flare, according to AT&T’s website.

Fact Check:

AT&T and Verizon users with “certain older unlimited plans” will see an “increase of $4 per month, per line” on billing cycles on or after Mar. 1, according to The Hill. In addition to AT&T and Verizon, T-Mobile is also set to raise its prices, the outlet reported.

“AT&T Cell Phone Towers Have Allegedly Been Down Do To Powerful Solar Flares Being Emmited [sic] from The Sun,” the Facebook post, which has received over 1,000 likes, purports. The post does not provide a source to support its claim.

The claim is false, however. According to AT&T’s website, the outage was caused by technical issues, not a solar flare.

“Our initial review of the cause of Thursday’s outage indicates it was due to the application and execution of an incorrect process used while working to expand our network, not a cyber attack. We are investing billions to grow our network and deliver an exceptional customer experience. This is both a point of pride and a challenge that always requires care and focus,” a statement posted to AT&T’s website reads.

The company also apologized to users for any potential inconveniences they faced as a result of the outage, offering to apply a credit to their accounts. A spokesperson for AT&T directed Check Your Fact to the statement. (RELATED: Did Johnnie Cochran Die Mysteriously After Filing Lawsuit For Reparations?)

Likewise, scientists and weather experts claim it’s “possible” that solar flares could have been the cause of the outage but that it’s “very unlikely” they did, the Boston Globe reported.

“While solar flares can affect communication systems, radar, and Global Positioning Systems, based on the intensity of these eruptions and associated phenomena, it is unlikely that these flares contributed to the widely reported cellular network outage,” officials at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) ‘s Space Weather Prediction Center said, according to the Boston Globe.

Additionally, the claim linking the outage to solar flares does not appear on any of AT&T’s verified social media accounts. Furthermore, USA Today debunked the claim as false in a Feb. 26 article.

This is not the first time a false claim has circulated online. Check Your Fact also recently debunked an X post claiming George Floyd purportedly made anti-transgender comments prior to his death.

Christine Sellers

Fact Check Reporter