Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and What’s App are Down? Now What?!!!

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Hello Keepers,

Just as Facebook’s Antigone Davis was live on CNBC defending the company over a whistleblower’s accusations and its handling of research data suggesting Instagram is harmful to teens, its entire network of services suddenly went offline on Monday October 4.

The outage started just before 9 AM PST and took nearly six hours before it was resolved. This is the worst outage for Facebook since a 2019 incident took its site offline for more than 24 hours, as the downtime hit hardest on the small businesses and creators who rely on these services for their income.

In a leaked transcript published in The Verge in 2019, chief executive Mark Zuckerberg noted that such outages are a “big deal”. Any problems can often lead people to start using competitors instead, he said, and noted that it can take “months” to win back trust and get people back on Facebook’s platforms – if they come back at all.

Obviously, with Facebook and its associated apps Instagram, Messenger, What’s App, and Workplace going down, a whole lot of cyber communication came to a halt. More than 3.5 billion people use Facebook worldwide and Facebook is also used to sign in to many other apps and services which led to domino effects such as people not being able to log into shopping websites or sign into their smart TVs, thermostats, and other internet –connected services.  Facebook lost shares and some Facebook employees were locked out of their offices.

With Facebook down for six hours, we missed out on updates, announcements, and being able to stay informed about various news information whether it be for formal or for social reasons. Without knowing when it was coming back up, we all had to use other means of communicating with everyone.

Let’s think about this, (and I am including myself) reading my Facebook feed and Instagram feed is a part of my daily routine when I wake up in the morning, when I am taking breaks during the day, as well as winding down for the night. I rely on both platforms for information, updates, and connection with friends and family. Six hours is not a long time but could be a long time for a company relying on the apps for business sales. Six hours could be a long time for someone who has no means of communication with anyone as they may physically be in an isolated place for work or isolated for health reasons.

It even crossed my mind that Facebook and social media was actually an important tool to have in order to stay connected during the beginning of the pandemic last year: Before the vaccine became available, initially, we had to remain socially distanced and every business was closed other than the essential businesses so social media was the tool we used heavily as well as digital platforms.

What’s appropriate and not for social media has changed a lot in the past year. One hard truth of the pandemic was that, in order to someday be together safely, we had to be apart in the meantime. For many, this meant that social media has become one of the only ways to be with friends and family, so people flocked to platforms new (TikTok) and old (Facebook). The new normal, where many more of our daily interactions are mediated by screens, has made us change the way we behave on those platforms, with the messiness and realities of the pandemic life crowding out some of social media’s posturing and perfection.

These sites have been a social lifeline as well as a way to get new information about the disease spreading across the globe and upending life as we knew it. Twitter, especially, shone as a real-time news source. The pandemic made social media, whose utility had languished and whose user growth was in decline, suddenly relevant. Some even mused that social media, though still under intense scrutiny for spreading misinformation and general toxicity, was good again. After years of social fragmentation, during which people were less likely to have watched the same shows or even share the same reality, people suddenly had something they could all talk about.

Social Media was responsible for us getting engaged in Verzuz, understanding why we needed to vote in 2020, and it outright exposed the horrors happening to American citizens like George Floyd, Breona Taylor, and others. This is what social media helped us to accomplish: it inspired the protests and marches that took place and it inspired many people to vote in a vital election for the sake of our democracy.

Although this outage lasted for six hours, was this a wakeup call to all of us about how much we rely on social media to stay connected to our friends, family, acquaintances…even potential significant others?:

Speaking of potential significant others, was the Facebook outage a reminder that we need to truly connect with someone and not let a casual connection be the only way we can get in touch with someone?

Now do not get me wrong, social media has served as a positive platform in many ways and of course people can meet on social media and have an organic connection…and that is just ita true connection needs to go beyond social media.

Isn’t it wonderful to be able to have a true connection with a real person who is reliable, trustworthy, and wonderful?

How would you feel if the only way you could get in touch with your significant other was through social media and with a major platform and associated apps going down, what if you really needed to be in touch with someone during those six hours? Six hours is not a long time from a macro level, but it can be a long time if you really want to connect with someone…what if those six hours were six days, or even six months?

Let’s remember to utilize social media as the utility to do the initial connection, but always remember that we must go beyond any social media platform for a true connection…

Let’s continue to take the opportunity and utilize social media to create a new normal for our relationships and interactions with others…

Just Keeping it 100,

Stephanie

Picture Courtesy of @brandonb_media

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