Facebook Went Down, The World Went High: Facts and Lessons You Should Learn From the Facebook Outage
By: Ishmaila Jalloh Jamburiah – MuFTI
The effects of the six-hour shutdown of Facebook, Instagram & WhatsApp should be a concern to governments, businesses and individuals who actively use social media platforms for various purposes, particularly for information dissemination and for business.
The six-hour-long shutdown, whether it was deliberate or due to technical problem or cyber attack, indicates that social media platforms are not 100 percent reliable and certain, and that they can crash or go down at anytime.
And whether the Facebook shutdown has connection to the PANDORA PAPERS or to the case against Facebook condoning some elements of hate speech or excess profiteering or so, we will definitely know sooner or later.
The shutdown shows how powerful social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp are, and how people of this age are so socially and inseperably connected to these platforms that they (users) cannot go without them (social media platforms).
The shutdown also demonstrates the roles these platforms play in global information circulation, in connecting the global population, making it easier for people to participate and interact in a virtual world.
The shutdown also depicts how a single or a small group of people virtually own and control the global communication systems which almost the whole world is connected to – without which, the world will literally be disconnected or separated virtually.
While there are number of lessons to learn from what I term as “The 2021 World Communication Break”, it’s important to state that the $7billion Mark Zukerberg (Owner of Facebook) lost in just six hours of the “Facebook Outage” explains the amount of money these popular social media platforms make, and how you and I happily contribute unnoticeably to their too much wealth.
This also emphasizes the fact how few people are controlling the world’s wealth and how capitalism keeps flourishing unimaginably. I am not an economist, so I will hold it here.
At this point, you should know that the fact that other platforms, such as Twitter, TikTok etc, were operational while Facebook, WhatsApp & Instagram were down does not denounce the fact that all these popular APPs cannot go down or be attacked at the same time.
It’s also worth mentioning that the interaction and communication on WhatsApp, Facebook, Messenger and even Instagram far outweighs that which takes place on Twitter. Besides, in Sierra Leone for instance, Facebook is the most used platform while Twitter is among the least used. This is so because of the kind of interaction and services Facebook and WhatsApp offer which other platforms lack.
With the shutdown, you must have learnt, experienced and realized how addicted we are to social media. There is no other description for this except ADDICTION. We’re so addicted to it that we cannot do anything comfortably without it. Many had started facing distress already.
Media people, lawyers and business people, sociologists, psychologists should be concerned about these kinds of happenings because of the impacts they have on people and businesses.
Here are few lessons governments, social media news outlets, online and semi-online businesses and active social media users should learn from the six-hour Facebook Blackout.
1️⃣ That the world, as advanced it is, can he shut down. The COVID-19 and the Facebook outage experiences are indicators. And that there is God who is able and capable of shutting the whole world down.
2️⃣ That we should have different social media platforms for communication. Facebook or Whatsapp alone is not enough. Create an account on Twitter or on Telegram. Have different means of online communication. Decentralize your online communication means.
3️⃣ That traditional media platforms, such as newspaper, radio and TV, are still indispensably relevant in our lives. We should not attempt to do away with them.
4️⃣ That offline storage systems of information such as hard copy documents, pictures, critical information etc are still relevant. We should combine both analogue and digital storage means to have hybrid and reliable storage systems of information.
5️⃣ That countries and governments should have national independent online means or platforms of communication while we make use of global communication systems. Just like China has “WeChat”, so countries across the world, especially in Africa should have country-based or continental means of communication.
6️⃣ That Facebook-based bloggers or newspapers should have websites or Google sites or establish their presence on all major platforms for uninterrupted online information sharing. They should establish accounts on different popular platforms for information circulation.
7️⃣ That popularly-used platforms such as Facebook and WhatsApp should be monitored by governments to provide security and to ensure uniterrupted operation.
Popular platforms such as Facebook should not just shutdown like that. It should inform their users of such interruption.
And that an individual or a small group of people should not be allowed to own more than one popular platform, as in the case of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.
8️⃣ That social media users should prioritize physical relationships, offline friendships and family time. That excessive “unproductive” social media use is an addiction and may lead to psychological problems when addicted persons cannot get what they want from it.
That we should start disciplining ourselves the way we use social. Let there be time for it, time for family and time for many other things.
9️⃣ That no system is perfect or incapable of doing of going down. And that every huge business has some tendencies to fall. And that we should always “Plan B” to our lives or backup system. Yesterday, it was Facebook, may be tomorrow it will the giant Google.
1️⃣0️⃣ That it’s highly unlikely that the six-hour Facebook shutdown was ordinary. Assumedly, it was done for updating the system, or was as a result of cyber attack (which is not necessarily true) or has connection to the PANDORA PAPERS leaks, the case against Facebook and so. Disclaimer: Number 10 is a mere opinion.
Finally, so long as we’re in this age, there is hardly a way to go back, social media concentration will only increase. It is up to you to use it productively and manage your life well.
About the Author:
Ishmaila Jalloh Jamburiah – MuFTI
Blogger – Sierra Leone Herald Blog
Content Associate/Reporter – Sierraloaded