Facebook Outage And Leaks: What Happened?


If you happened to be one of the millions of people using Facebook, Instagram, or Whatsapp,you might have noticed the 6-hour shutdown on October 4th. This temporary shutdown annoyed an extremely large number of people who use Instagram or Facebook to pass time. However,some of the most affected were the millions of Whatsapp users that were unable to use the app for hours. This was an extremely big issue because in the U.S there are over 75.1 million users. That number seems large until you realize that outside the U.S there are around 1.925 billion monthly users globally and with it being down, family and friends were cut off from essential communication. In addition, small businesses who turned to Facebook and Instagram to make sales during the pandemic were largely impacted by the unexplained shutdown resulting in a drop of sales. In an interview by NBC news small business, owner J.D Holland explained that “Monday’s outage led to losses of $300 to $400 in Facebook-driven sales.” Later on in the interview he also said ‘This is a big threat.’ What if it really went down?” This interview shows how during this pandemic Facebook’s mistakes can now affect small businesses that have turned to Facebook as a platform for their services.
The concern over this shutdown has raised questions regarding the issues with putting everything on one server, which leads to complications. Facebook’s reasoning for the shutdown was a DNS server failure during routine maintenance. The failure made the servers unreachable to not only the public, but the engineers who were actively trying to fix them which caused the long delay.

Frances Haugen Speaking To Congress (Boston.com)

Facebook’s stock fell  extremely hard, decreasing 4.9% in just one day in an already tough time for the company. Right now, Facebook is under intense scrutiny by the public and by the U.S Congress after whistleblower Frances Haugen who was a former Facebook product manager that worked on civic integrity issues leaked internal documents to The Wall Street Journal that showed some extremely unprofessional tactics used by Facebook. Haugen testified in front of Congress coincidentally the same day as the shutdown. Though the two events most likely aren’t related to one another it still brings slight suspicion on how an extremely rare bug happens on the exact day they’re getting exposed directly to the government. One document Haugen leaked from a slide show presentation said “We estimate that we may action as little as 3-5% of hate and ~0.6% of V&I [Violence and Incitement] on Facebook despite being the best in the world at it.” The reason for them not taking down the hate on Facebook is because the more hate leads to more engagement which leads to more money in Facebook’s pockets.
Another controversy that Facebook that they have been in is the effect Instagram has on young teens. Over time the issue has been questioned by the public and Facebook has refuted those statements against Instagram but Haugen leaked another document regarding that issue. The document that got leaked showed Facebook’s awareness of the damage Instagram has caused to teens’ self image but have done nothing to stop it. A part of the slide said “We make body image issues worse for one in three teen girls.”All of these things are an extremely bad look for the company because they are extremely secretive with what gets out to the public so this leads to some questions over what other unprofessional things they do behind the scenes. So as of right now Facebook has a lot of damage control to do with people not trusting their servers to stay up and the public including the Government questioning their already shaky morals and things they do behind the scenes.