After The largest Social Media Outage In History, Facebook, WhatsApp And Instagram Are Now Back Online
By: Samantha Bravo
On October 4th, 2021, at around 11:40 a.m. EST, Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp were shut down for more than six hours.
It is considered the worst and longest outage for social media since 2008, when a bug hit Facebook rendering it unusable for an entire day which affected around 8 million users.
Since the outage of 2008, the platform has gained around 3 billion users.
A statement was released by Facebook’s vice president of infrastructure, Santosh Janardhan, “To all the people and businesses around the world who depend on us, we are all sorry for the inconvenience caused by today’s outage across our platforms, —We’ve been working as hard as we can to restore access, and our systems are now back up and running.”
However, despite all three apps being fully functional, Instagram users are still complaining about not being able to post new content. Janardhan has also stated that the apps were unavailable due to configuration changes.
As a result, an update to Facebook’s routers that coordinate traffic went completely wrong. To make matters worse, the outage also destroyed Facebook’s own internal systems and tools used by employees to keep the app running smoothly.
The outage also came when the company went under fire for its products and policies. Before the company explained why the outage occurred, some people wondered if any of the apps had been hacked because of a whistleblower who testified before the senate.
On Tuesday, September 28th, 2021, Former Facebook profit manager, Frances Haugen has revealed to the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer that Facebook’s products are harming children and democracy. She also claimed that Facebook executives were hiding information about these policies to keep business afloat.
Hausen has stated that the company’s research has promoted content that involves hate speech, misinformation, body shaming, and political unrest. According to Hausen, this was done to keep people on the app and to get a reaction out of its users.
She also expressed how the people in charge of both Facebook and Instagram know how to solve these issues to make the apps safer. However, they refuse to do anything because they care more about making a profit than their own users.
She was praised by the senators who promised to work on any reforms. Both Democrats and Republicans were also in agreement that the company needed to be held accountable for their actions.
“As long as Facebook is operating in the shadows, hiding its research from public scrutiny, it is unaccountable,” Haugen said. “Until the incentives change, Facebook will not change. Left alone, Facebook will continue to make choices that go against the common good.”
The Facebook outage has cost the company about $164,000 a minute in revenue and more than $40 billion in market cap. The outage has also cost Founder and Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg around $6 billion in a single day.
“Sorry for today’s interruption,” Zuckerberg posted on Facebook. “I know how much you rely on our services to stay connected with the people who care about you.”
Since Zuckerberg posted his apology, he was met with heavy criticism.
Some users stated that they relied on these platforms for work while others stated that it allowed them to be more productive. Others have claimed that the outage has caused them to lose a tremendous amount of business, money, and clients.
Facebook and its users continue to face problems that stemmed from the outage. However, as one user states, “Come to the realization we lost Facebook for several hours, we lost nothing. You lost several amounts of money in stocks.”