Why Facebook’s Long Outage Is Just a Financial “Drop in the Bucket” for Tech Company


Facebook and Instagram failure

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Monday morning – hours after whistleblower Frances Haugen revealed on 60 minutes that she was the former Facebook employee who disclosed internal research to the the Wall Street newspaper – the social media website and its siblings have gone completely offline.

The blackout, which saw Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp go extinct, lasted around six hours, marking the longest crash since 2008.

It was reported to be a costly mess for Facebook and founder Mark Zuckerberg, who reportedly lost over $ 6 billion in personal wealth, knocking him down # 5 in the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, after Bill Gates. Fortune estimated that between 11:30 a.m.ET and 7:00 p.m. ET, Facebook, Inc., lost approximately $ 99.75 million in revenue.

But Jessica González, co-CEO of Free press, a nonprofit that fights for justice in media and technology, tells PEOPLE that these dollar amounts are just a “drop in the bucket” for the tech giant.

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“It only lasted a few hours,” González said of the outage, adding that Facebook does not earn its income in a “linear fashion”.

“It’s really just a drop in the bucket for Facebook,” she says.

Regarding the potential losses of business owners, influencers and advertisers during Monday’s blackout, González has a sharp reminder: “Facebook is not the Internet, especially here in the United States.”

“People who do business on Facebook also likely have accounts on TikTok and Twitter – Etsy depending on their activity,” says González. “There are many ways for people to reach others with their businesses. It is possible that a few people were affected in a minor way. But again, because it was only a few hours, I doubt it will have a substantial impact even on business owners. “

González predicts another major report implicating Facebook – which occurred just the night before the blackout – as a greater threat to the tech giant.

“The news item that could really impact Facebook’s bottom line is the whistleblower,” González said, referring to Haugen, 37, revealing his identity on Sunday night. Indeed, Fortune noted that while the outage shouldn’t scare investors off, Facebook’s stock fell nearly 5% after Haugen’s fall 60 minutes maintenance.

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Haugen, a former product manager at Facebook, recently disclosed internal Facebook research to lawmakers and the the Wall Street newspaper, leading to a series of newspaper reports alleging that Facebook allowed high-level user accounts to bypass its rules, allowing some to post material intended to incite violence or harass others; minimized data that showed Instagram is harmful for young teens, namely girls; and made changes to its algorithm that made people “more angry“, among other allegations.

“What I saw over and over on Facebook was that there were conflicts of interest between what was good for the public and what was good for Facebook. And Facebook, over and over again, has chose to optimize for his own interests, like making more money, ”Haugen said in the 60 minutes maintenance.

Facebook has repulsed Against this characterization: “Every day, our teams must balance protecting the right of billions of people to speak out openly with the need to keep our platform a safe and positive place,” the director of communications told CBS News. company policies, Lena Pietsch. in part. “We continue to make significant improvements to combat the spread of disinformation and harmful content. To suggest that we encourage bad content and do nothing is just not true.”

Facebook tweeted he was back online just after 6:30 p.m. ET Monday.

“To the huge community of people and businesses around the world who depend on us: we’re sorry,” the tweet said. “We have worked hard to restore access to our applications and services and are happy to announce that they are coming back online now. Thank you for your patience.”

RELATED: Facebook experiences worst outage since 2008, Instagram and WhatsApp also down globally

The company hasn’t explained what caused its system to crash – TechCrunch reported that even their internal systems were not working on Monday – but tech experts have explained that Facebook’s Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) routes have been removed.

BGP is essentially the connective tissue of the Internet, the routes that link networks together. For some reason, Facebook’s BGP routes were taken down, making its network unobtainable by other networks. Since Instagram and WhatsApp are part of Facebook’s network, they are also gone.

On the contrary, according to González, the blackout serves as a “good reminder” that there are a plethora of other options for communicating online. “It’s just another reminder that we need to diversify the way we communicate,” she says.

“We can’t rely on Facebook to help us. They can’t even keep their system running, let alone the chaos they cause.”

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