Facebook Experiences Massive Outage Day After Bombshell Report

Facebook Experiences Massive Outage Day After Bombshell Report

and its subsidiaries Instagram and WhatsApp have experienced the most severe worldwide social media outage ever. The unprecedented blackout began yesterday, shortly before noon eastern time. The tech giant remained offline until late in the evening. The interruption came one day after a “” interview with former Facebook employee Frances Haugen and one day before she’ll testify before members of Congress.

Haugen’s interview marked the first time a member of Facebook’s middle management stepped forward to allege that the company is aware of the damage they are causing. She even accused Facebook of betraying democracy.

The interview and subsequent outage cost Facebook $40 billion in value as company shares plummeted almost 5%. CEO ’s net worth dropped nearly $7 billion.

Before quitting in April, Haugen filed no less than eight anonymous complaints with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The complaints contained thousands of internal documents detailing how Facebook “chooses profit over [public] safety.” The leaked memos contradict many of Facebook’s external statements. Haugen also anonymously passed sensitive business information to The Wall Street Journal.

Haugen explained to CBS’s Scott Pelley that Facebook would lose vast sums of money if it fixed its algorithm to combat “harmful content.” She also revealed how Instagram impacted users’ mental health. Its affect on teenage girls’ body image and self-esteem, in particular, can be profoundly harmful. Studies suggest that young people who spend more than two hours a day on social networks have a greater likelihood of experiencing anxiety and depression.

While Facebook categorically denies these accusations, it has apologized for yesterday’s outage across its platforms. The company’s vice president of infrastructure said “configuration changes on the backbone routers” caused massive disruption to network traffic. He didn’t elaborate on what those changes were.

The New York Times first noted that Facebook employees simultaneously found themselves locked out of buildings and conference rooms at its headquarters.

Other reporters described the reaction when employee badges to access doors suddenly stopped working:

“It’s mayhem over here, all internal systems are down too,” Philip Crowther, a reporter for the Associated Press, reported on Twitter. Facebook employees are communicating internally via text message and Outlook email, he added. 

More speculation followed, including allegations that hackers accessed 1.5 billion users’ personal information. No one has confirmed such a hacking occurred.

Following the report, Facebook responded to “60 Minutes”: 

“Every day our teams have to balance protecting the right of billions of people to express themselves openly with the need to keep our platform a safe and positive place. We continue to make significant improvements to tackle the spread of misinformation and harmful content. To suggest we encourage bad content and do nothing is just not true.”

On another front, Facebook desperately seeks to have the Federal Trade Commission’s antitrust lawsuit against it dismissed. Facebook again pleaded its case on Monday, arguing that the FTC has no evidence the company is an illegal monopolist.

The Washington Post reports:

In the filing, the company argues that the agency’s amended August complaint relies on “guesswork rather than facts” in its claims about Facebook’s limited market share, contending that the filing should have the same fate as the agency’s initial Facebook antitrust suit and be dismissed. The company is seeking a repeat of the major victory it scored in June when a federal judge dismissed a pair of twin antitrust lawsuits challenging Facebook and forced the FTC to refile an amended version of its case with more evidence.

In the bolstered version of its case, the FTC argued that Facebook should not be compared to popular public-facing social apps such as TikTok and YouTube. Instead it said that Facebook’s most relevant rival is Snapchat, which has tens of millions fewer monthly users than either Facebook or Instagram.

Meanwhile, Haugen began testifying before the Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety and Data Security at 10:00 am on October 5, 2021.