On reflection of a very busy month, we began to notice how truly interesting October has been for the world of tech. With many experiencing a positive a rise in new business acquisitions, October has not been that good to the ‘great and mighty’ Facebook.
Monday 4th October 2021, saw what can only be described as social media meltdown, where users were incapable of using from Facebook, Instagram, AND and WhatsApp due to Facebook server complication. As we all know, this as not the first time in the tech giant’s history where users experienced problems, as some of the most notable issues from Facebook and it’s acquired applications occurred consecutively in 2018 and 2019.
Naturally, social media users flocked to the Twitter and TikTok to produce memes and jokes that would keep the world entertained for the following days to come, it is usually swiftly followed by intense scrutiny and analysis from tech enthusiasts and those alike.
Undoubtably, this Facebook blackout was different than every before. Not just because we saw these 3 market leading tech applications go down for so long, but also because whilst still in a pandemic, users not only rely on the apps for social use but heavily for business too.
A couple of months ago wee addressed how the pandemic impacted the world of eCommerce and social media platforms. Businesses have never been so dependent on these platforms being reliable than ever before, especially since 2020 forced them to take in-store shopping onto digital platforms like Whatsapp. A prominent example is the UK’s famous luxury shopping outlet centre, Bicester Village, which initially accepted shopping orders over WhatsApp to keep up with the demand and later grew that into a full catalogue service — all still via Whatsapp. And for Bicester Village, this meant no digital orders across the 2 days Facebook countered problems.
Of course Mr Zuckerberg issued an apology statement via a Facebook post (expected, although ironic) but this could not stop a whopping $50 billion being wiped off of Facebook’s market value. And although that may seem like a lot, and it is, the sum is unquestionably recoverable by Facebook.
On the heels of Facebook’s outage came the whistleblowing testimony against Facebook from Frances Haugen that covered almost every news channel and circulated all major social media platforms. Without going into great detail, Haugen outlined how she believed Facebook continually placed profits ahead of the wellbeing of it users, especially that of children. Another consequential blow to Facebook.
As technologists at TECHTEE, our discussions usually start from a place of ‘what happened here?’ and ‘how can it be fixed’ — then awaiting the resolutions. Well, in the case of Facebook, those that seem to be paying attention almost immediately knew what happened here and many spoke out on how it could be fixed, followed by the notion that Facebook will never take any of these approaches. Many called for Facebook to be regulated, or for Facebook to separate their servers (we doubt this will happen). Numerable references The Social Dilemma resurfaced, have been theorising many topics surrounding the mental harm of social media, especially that of younger users.
We’re yet to see much else from Facebook after the apologies about how they plan to make things better, but reports name that later this month Facebook will be taking Google’s ABC approach and changing it’s name to reflect their focus on the metaverse. Could this be an initial step towards that separation we mentioned earlier? We’ll have to wait and see.
We often reflect on the state of the industries we touch here at TECHTEE and that of the Facebook influence is one to always consider when we build technology. Opinions to the side, something does need to change on both the social and technical side, we’re simply along for the ride with everyone else.