Facebook Outage Gives Users ‘Moment to Reflect’ on Social Media Reliance

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FILED - A massive data leak of email addresses and phone numbers from Facebook will make it easier for email scammers to pretend to be someone you know, internet security experts fear. Photo: Uli Deck/dpa
FILED - A massive data leak of email addresses and phone numbers from Facebook will make it easier for email scammers to pretend to be someone you know, internet security experts fear. Photo: Uli Deck/dpa

Facebook’s hours-long outage provides an opportunity for users to reflect on how important social media is and how technology has taken over their lives, Howard University social and digital media specialist, Ingrid Sturgis, told Sputnik.

Earlier in the day, Facebook suffered a six-hour outage that also disrupted some of its other services – including Instagram and WhatsApp. US media, citing Facebook’s recovery team, reported that the outage was caused by a border gateway protocol (BGP) update.

“This gives us a moment to reflect on how important Facebook is in our lives. We have to ask ourselves about the negative aspects,” Sturgis, chair of Howard’s Department of Media, Journalism and Film, said on Monday. “We’re in a strange moment where technology has taken over our lives.”

The outage, she added, had “real-world” consequences for many users.

“We really need to think about how we engage, how much we want to put up there [online] and the impact on our families,” Sturgis said.

The outage, the professor added, also provided users a day to stop “doom-scrolling” through negative stories.

“They’ve got a day when they can do something different, where they can relax, not do some of the things they do online,” Sturgis said.

On Monday night, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger are coming back online.

Sturgis also said the outage was unusual given it comes a day after Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen told CBS the social media giant has repeatedly chosen profit over safety.

Over the past few weeks, Haugen, a former product manager who left the company in May, revealed thousands of pages of corporate inquiry showing that Facebook hid evidence and lied about its platform spreading harmful information.

Documents released by Haugen, who is set to testify before US Congress on Tuesday, also show Facebook is aware the platform has inflicted harm on the mental health of teens.

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