Show of hands who unplugged their router or switched off their phone yesterday? Across the world Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp went offline for several hours. Security experts say it could have been triggered by a configuration error. This outage came just after Facebook whistleblower, Frances Haugen, revealed her identity on 60 Minutes on Sunday saying that the company is aware that its platforms are used to spread hate, violence and misinformation.
Leading up to the interview, Haugen released thousands of pages of internal documents in an effort to show that Facebook repeatedly choose to prioritise profit, and in turn deceiving investors.
Haugen, who previously worked at Google and Pinterest, uncovered a study which showed that Facebook took action on less than 5% of hate speech, and less than 1% of content classified under “violence and incitement”.
… something that triggers the emotion of anger? That piece of information goes a lot further.
On the claim that incentives within Facebook are misaligned, and the desire for likes, comments, shares and profit outweighs safety, Lena Pietsch, the director of policy communications responded after the 60 Minutes interview.
“Hosting hateful or harmful content is bad for our community, bad for advertisers, and ultimately, bad for our business. Our incentive is to provide a safe, positive experience for the billions of people who use Facebook. That’s why we’ve invested so heavily in safety and security.”
But let’s face it. In the world of algorithms, cute cat videos might get likes and hearts, but something that triggers the emotion of anger? That piece of information goes a lot further. Which results in users spending more time on the app, and in turn that means more profit. Whether it was the US elections, the start of covid, or the ongoing pro or anti-vax debate. Hate and debate fuel the dollars.
Following the outage and interview, Facebook shares experienced their worst session in nearly a year, falling 4.9% to $326.23 for their worst single-day percentage decline since a 5% fall on Nov. 9, 2020.
Haugen will testify before Congress on Tuesday morning and her lawyers have filed at least eight complaints with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission which has also led to members of the European parliament calling for an investigation.
Twitter still stands after Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp outage
Whenever the Zuckerberg-clan of social media platforms takes a plunge into the dark side, everyone flocks to Twitter. And that includes Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.
And the memes are endless.
The new Netflix hit, Squid Game, which is on track to become Netflix’s biggest original series, was the meme star of the outage.
Throwback to simpler times of Vine and our trusty Nokia 3310.
McDonald’s also had something to say.
Our friends down under slept through most of it.
This time, we can’t blame our ISPs.