Facebook facing global blackout and whistleblower revelations – 10/4/2021

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SAN FRANCISCO, October 5, 2021 (AFP) — This Monday (4) Facebook faced a double whammy: fighting a whistleblower’s damning revelations, it had to resolve a seven-hour global outage of its social network.

It appears that many of the long-standing fears and criticisms about the platform were supported by a survey by Facebook itself, which was submitted to executives and the Wall Street Journal by former employee Frances Haugen.

But as US senators prepared for their much-anticipated testimony on the documents on Tuesday, Facebook faced several hours of blackout, affecting millions of users on its platforms, including Instagram and WhatsApp.

The DownDetector website said it had received 10.6 million reports of problems ranging from the US and Europe to Colombia and Singapore, with the fault first appearing around 15:45 GMT (12:45 GMT).

Services resumed after about seven hours. “We are working hard to restore access to our apps and services and are pleased to report that they are back online,” Facebook wrote on its Twitter account.

Facebook “reconnected to the global Internet” at 22:28 GMT (19:28 GMT), but the company’s family of services is expected to take some time to fully return to normal, web security firm Cloudflare said on its blog. is indicated.

Facebook did not disclose a possible cause of the outage, but cybersecurity experts said they found signs of disruption in the routes that connect people to the social network.

“Facebook and related properties disappeared from the Internet in a flurry of BGP (Gateway Protocol) updates,” tweeted John Graham-Cumming, Chief Technology Officer of Cloudflare.

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During the blackout, the company’s chief technology officer, Mike Schroepfer, took to Twitter to offer “a sincere apology to all those affected by the disruptions to the services provided by Facebook at this time.”

– “Body dissatisfaction worsened” – Facebook has strongly resisted outrage about its practices and impact, but it is the latest crisis to hit its business.

For years, US lawmakers have threatened to regulate Facebook and other tech giants, pointing to criticism that these platforms trample on privacy, provide a megaphone for false and dangerous information, and the well-being of young people. do harm to.

After years of a social media crisis without major legislative reforms, some experts suspect change is yet to come. “This is a situation where there will be a lot of smoke and a lot of fury but little action,” said Arizona State University professor Mark Hayes.

“The tasks will inevitably come from the platform, when they feel pressure from their users, they feel pressure from their employees,” he said, and stressed that authorities should be able to regulate content effectively. Will not be able.

Haugen, a 37-year-old data expert from Iowa, worked for companies like Google and Pinterest, but said in an interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes” news program that Facebook was “much worse” than anything else.

Facebook’s vice president for politics and global affairs, Nick Clegg, has vehemently rejected claims that its services are “toxic” for teens, days after a tense, multi-hour congressional hearing in which the US Lawmakers had questioned the company about its mental impact on health. young user.

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Last week, senators pressed Facebook’s security chief Antigone Davis over a report from the company about potential damage to the app.

Davis told lawmakers that research has shown that Instagram is often very beneficial for 12-year-olds with anxiety, sadness or an eating disorder.

However, Senator Richard Blumenthal read aloud court excerpts from the company’s documents, which he said he had received from someone on Facebook, who contradicted it.

“Ample evidence suggests that Instagram and Facebook experiences make body dissatisfaction worse,” he said, noting that the allegation came not from a disgruntled Facebook employee, but from a company study.

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About the author: Sarah Gracie

Sarahis a reporter covering Amazon. She previously covered tech and transportation, and she broke stories on Uber's finances, self-driving car program, and cultural crisis. Before that, she covered cybersecurity in finance. Sarah's work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Politico, and the Houston Chronicle.

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