Could There Be a Link Between the Mysterious Facebook Outage and the Whistleblower?
Facebook went dark for the longest time in its history soon after a whistleblower blew the lid off of some of the social media giant’s questionable practices. Is this a mere coincidence or something more?
On Monday, Oct 4. Facebook’s platforms, including Instagram and WhatsApp, suffered from widespread outages. The global outages continued for about 7 hours. Facebook and Instagram appear to have recovered as of Monday afternoon around 6 p.m. Eastern.
At 6:33 p.m., the company confirmed that its services had been restored.
“To the huge community of people and businesses around the world who depend on us: we’re sorry. We’ve been working hard to restore access to our apps and services and are happy to report they are coming back online now. Thank you for bearing with us,” the official Facebook Twitter feed announced.
Coincidentally, in addition to the temporary outages, Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen is set to testify against the social media giant. She revealed herself on CBS’ “60 Minutes” as the woman who anonymously filed complaints with federal law enforcement that Facebook’s own research shows how it magnifies hate and misinformation, leads to increased polarization, and that Instagram, specifically, can harm teenage girls’ mental health.
Haugen claimed that Facebook betrayed “democracy” by allowing the algorithm to push misinformation on its users during the 2020 election. She said the company recognized the risk of misinformation and added safety systems to reduce that risk, but she accused the company of loosening those measures after the election.
“As soon as the election was over, they turned them back off, or they changed the settings back to what they were before, to prioritize growth over safety,” Haugen said. “And that really feels like a betrayal of democracy to me.”
Haugen also leaked internal documents to The Wall Street Journal, dubbed “The Facebook Files,” which paint a picture of a company focused on growth and its own interests instead of the public good. Facebook has vehemently denied the allegations.
While it is normal for websites and apps to suffer outages, one on a global scale is rare. Facebook has also vehemently denied Haugen’s allegations, prompting some conspiracy theories to propose that the “crash” was a deliberate shut down by the company in order to clean house and delete evidence before Haugen testifies.