Big Tech went dark today as Facebook, as well as Instagram and What’s App, shut down entirely. Facebook ironically resorted to Twitter to notify users of the network shutdown, adding that they are working to get things back to normal “as quickly as possible” and they apologize for any inconvenience.
“Instagram and friends are having a little bit of a hard time right now, and you may be having issues using them. Bear with us, we’re on it! #instagramdown,” Instagram Comms tweeted.
WhatsApp also tweeted out that people have been experiencing issues with their App and that they will send an update as soon as possible. It came at an interesting time after Facebook project manager and whistleblower Frances Haugen revealed a trove of company research and internal documents that she found appalling.
“The thing I saw at Facebook over and over again was there were conflicts of interest between what was good for the public and what was good for Facebook. And Facebook, over and over again, chose to optimize for its own interests, like making more money,” Haugen shared on 60 Minutes.
Haugen went on to say that she’s worked for Google, Pinterest, and a number of other tech firms but that Facebook was “substantially worse” than anything she’s seen before. She said she’d originally joined the company in 2019 to help them combat misinformation and had been assigned to their Civic Integrity team. She said Facebook allowed the algorithms to push misinformation during the 2020 election and ac
The team was disbanded shortly after the presidential election, which was a move Haugen said she didn’t trust. She even emphasized that the version of Facebook we have today is “tearing our societies apart and causing ethnic violence around the world.”
This reminded Haugen of another report brought to Instagram that found the App negatively affects teens’ (especially teen girls’) mental health, even though CEO Mark Zuckerberg disputed the research as “inconclusive.” The study was based on research that the company bought in 2012 that found a “sizable percentage” of its users were negatively impacted by the app.
Another finding showed 13% of British users and 6% of American users traced the desire to kill themselves and suicidal thoughts back to Instagram. The reporting found that Instagram makes body image issues worse for “one in three teen girls.” Facebook researchers said they weren’t surprised by the data and that much of the research had been in line with other segments of academic research being conducting externally on Facebook at the time. Facebook’s research has shown that Instagram is dangerous and distinctly worse than any other form of social media.
Haugen has revealed these damaging blows to Facebook in hopes that she saves the social media platform. She wrote one last message on the company’s internal social network that she doesn’t hate Facebook, she loves it and wants to save it. She is scheduled to testify before the Senate in heating titled “Protecting Kids Online: Testimony from a Facebook Whistleblower.”
The global outages continued for about 7 hours, with Facebook and Instagram announced that their services were restored later Monday afternoon. They apologized to the huge community of people and businesses around the world, adding that they are happy to report they are back online. They thanked the social media users for bearing with them during the temporary outages.
Facebook has continued to deny the allegations of any wrongdoing or harm to the nation’s youth, but the timing of the outage has a few eyebrows raised. One on a global outage this big is considered rare and was called a “scrubbing of the system” like Hillary’s servers, but even if it was just a typical outage, it’s great news for the health of the nation.