WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram restart after 7 hours. How much the longest “down” in history cost

The repercussions have not only been on the nerves but also economically and politically around the world. Companies accustomed, from India to Brazil, to receiving orders and making deliveries by communicating through Facebook have suddenly stopped. Bloomberg estimates that the global economic loss was $ 160 million for every hour of digital disruption.

It took nearly seven hours to partially and slowly get back online. Not exactly a day to frame, Monday 4 October, for Mark Zuckerberg’s galaxy. First the words of Frances Haugen, the former manager who delivered internal research to lawmakers and the Wall Street Journal on how the social network manages content and risks for users. Then the downtime of all the sites and services that also involved the same Menlo Park employees with phones and badges out of order. Around midnight, a tweet from the group Zuck founded apologized for the “inconveniences.”

Even Zuckerberg himself, through his Facebook profile, apologized: «Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger are coming back online now. I’m sorry for today’s interruption – I know how much you rely on our services to stay in touch with the people you care about, “wrote the founder of the social network par excellence. Shortly before midnight the first signs of recovery for Facebook and Instagram, while for Whatsapp only for a few seconds. As a Facebook spokesperson quoted by the New York Times reported, the services are coming back online, but he warned that it will take some time for them to stabilize. The fact remains that, as the downdetector that monitors digital disruptions reports, this is the largest breakdown ever recorded by the site.

Since shortly after 5.30 pm WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram have not worked, or have worked in fits and starts, in various parts of the world, including Italy. And the hashtags #WhatsAppDown, #FacebookDown and #InstagramDown began to climb the twitter rankings, quickly reaching the top. Within a few minutes, the joke and irony competition also started, where Jack Dorsey also intervened.

It would be an incorrect configuration of the Facebook servers, therefore an internal error, the cause of the total downtime of the social network and of the WhatsApp and Instagram apps. This was reported by the New York Times which collected the explanation of John Graham-Cumming, chief technology officer of Cloudflare, a web infrastructure company. The premise is that computers convert websites such as Facebook.com into numerical addresses (IP), through a system that the expert compares to the address book of a telephone.

Hard blow for Facebook: the former IT engineer of the social network speaks (confesses)

Facebook “understands that if they change the algorithm to be safer, people will spend less time on the site, click fewer ads and earn less” – Facebook has put “profits above safety” of the public. The words of mole Frances Haugen, the former employee who plunged Zuckerberg’s company into its deepest crisis since Cambridge Analytics, are potentially devastating. In an interview with ’60 Minutes’ on CBS, she tells that she too presented complaints to the Sec, the American Consob, in which she accuses the social network of having hidden her research and her studies from investors and the public. The 37-year-old, brave and very knowledgeable. she is also the key source for the Wall Street Journal’s Facebook Files project. She has worked for several social networks, but on Facebook she found the situation “worst”.
Who is Frances Haugen the mole

But what did Haugen say about so explosive?

“I have repeatedly seen conflicts of interest between what was good for the public and what was good for Facebook. And each time Facebook chose what was best for its own profits,” explains Frances Haugen, who explains why she decided to become a ‘mole’ and denounce the company. Haugen is the one who provided the Wall Street Journal in recent months with internal documents that showed a hitherto unknown insight into Facebook.

“There was a security plan” and controls on hate messages and disinformation that appeared on Facebook, but “after the 2020 presidential election something has changed,” revealed Haugen, a Harvard graduate, hired in 2019 as a data engineer. The algorithms would change and the system would become “less secure”. From that moment – again according to Haugen’s version – the social platform allegedly loosened the censorship of hate messages and the contents that misinformed about the electoral result, eventually favoring the dissemination of messages on alleged fraud.

Haugen came out, showing her face and drawing a disturbing picture. Today he will be in Congress for a deposition. “They thought that if they changed the algorithms to make the system more secure, people would spend less time on social media, they would click ads less,” and Facebook “would make less money,” he said. said the former employee. “They always preferred her – she added her – profit over security.”

Haugen said she decided to wage this battle because she lost a loved one to conspiracy theories circulating on social media. She was very clear in her former employer’s assessment of her. “There were conflicts of interest between what was good for the audience and what was good for Facebook,” she said. “Facebook has chosen over and over to optimize for their own interests, how to make more money.”
The impact of Instagram on teenagers

On Instagram, the engineer argued that it has a dramatic impact on the lives of teenagers: “A research carried out by Facebook – he said – says that the young women who follow content related to eating disorder, the more they follow these issues, the more they become depressed. . And this leads to using Instagram more. “

In a written note, Facebook defended itself by arguing that the company “continues to make significant improvements to counter the spread of misinformation and content that can harm people. Claiming that we encourage bad content and do nothing to stop it is not true.”