Waking up, turning over and scrolling to check Facebook and Instagram has become the accustomed tradition of the decade of over 2.89 billion active Facebook users and 1.386 billion active Instagram users.
Two billion users are also on Facebook’s messaging app WhatsApp, so when all three platforms crashed October 4, 2021, at 11:44am, users were left on hinge for a total of seven hours without the media outlets.
“It did affect me because social media, specifically Instagram, is a way we as a university broadcast events and important information without having to gather everyone’s personal information. I feel like I couldn't really interact with the students or post events because of the shutdown. It did help me focus all day though because it didn't give me the urge to check my phone every few seconds during class and my day became pretty productive knowing there was nothing I could do with my phone,” said Oucte Wright, Savannah State University senior mass communications major.
The social media platforms are the biggest moguls in online communication, so when the media outlets simultaneously crashed for the world-record time of seven hours, all users were left in confusion of if it was cellular signals, Wi-Fi connections, or if it was really the end of the internet.
“We’re aware that some people are having trouble accessing our apps and products. We’re working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible, and we apologize for any inconvenience’” was posted to Facebook Twitter’s page. Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp all have been experiencing outages on Monday, October 4, 2021, until 6:33pm. Facebook, along with many other social media users, had no choice but to take to Twitter to spread the confusing news that all three platforms were down.
Announced by Facebook’s official Twitter page, the platform’s feed announced, “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.”
Over thousands of reports of the outages flooded Facebook’s Headquarters. Instagram also took to its Twitter page and announced, “Instagram and friends are having a little bit of a hard time right now, and you may be having issues using them. Bear with us, we’re on it! #instagramdown.”
The outage has led to a drop of 5% of the company’s shares and cellular companies such as AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, and more received backlash as well for the downfalls and confusion of the three social media platforms shutdown.
Once the social media platforms were back up and running, memes of the devastating day flooded the platforms as users were relieved and relating to what they were doing during the outage.
Daniel Lemaitre, Savannah State University senior mathematics major said, “ I didn’t really care to be honest, I’m not really glued to the phone like that but I think the only issue for me was if I had to handle any business through the sites. For example, if I had to contact my professor, classmates or colleagues via Facebook, Instagram, or Whatsapp, about anything important, but it ended up being a lot simpler once I found other ways around that through email or text.”
Some believe the outage is ironically timely as whistleblower Frances Haugen, the anonymous woman and former Facebook employee, leaked Facebook’s classified internal research documents and filed complaints with federal law enforcements.
In her 60 Minutes interview she said, “When we live in an information environment that is full of angry, hateful, polarizing content, it erodes our civic trust, it erodes our faith in each other, it erodes our ability to want to care for each other. The version of Facebook that exists today is tearing our societies apart and creating ethnic violence around the world.”
From the “The Facebook Whistleblower” case, to the loss of revenue in the stock market, and even the publications of American citizens defacing the U.S. Capital on and through Facebook, the top faceted platform for communication has the biggest global impact and dependency unlike any other, so much so, that a simple breach, update, algorhythm, or policy change could upset millions, let alone a complete shutdown of seven hours.
Whatever the reasoning was for the shutdown, Facebook leaves us the daunting questions of what would happen if there was a permanent shutdown of the virtual world and why have we become increasingly dependent on social media globally? Nevertheless, October 4th, 2021, will always be remembered as the day the world was doomed technologically, and incredibly bored.