Facebook and Instagram’s Temporary Shutdown

Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp went down for hours on Monday


This is the tweet that Facebook posted on the day of the shutdown to acknowledge the concerns of people not able to use the app.

Facebook, Instagram and What’s App all experienced a temporary shutdown on Oct. 4, 2021, the same day that whistleblower Frances Haugen spoke to Congress against Facebook’s spread of misinformation on its platform.

“Haugen pointed to Facebook’s algorithm as the element that pushes misinformation onto users,” says Lauren Feiner, a writer for CNBC.

Facebook’s algorithm presents users with information based on what it believes will achieve longer interactions, which most commonly is misinformation.

According to the Social Dilemma organization, “64% of the people who joined extremist groups on Facebook [during 2018] did so because the algorithms steered them there.”

Haugen, former product manager on Facebook’s civic misinformation team, noted that she “became increasingly alarmed by the choices the company makes prioritizing their own profits over public safety — putting people’s lives at risk. As a last resort and at great personal risk, Frances made the courageous act to blow the whistle on Facebook.”

Before she left the company, Haugen had compiled several documents to make her case against Facebook. She sent this information to the Wall Street Journal series, Facebook Files.

The great push of misinformation by Facebook not only affected political rivalries but also damaged the mental health of youth. Instagram, a platform owned by Facebook, has been repeatedly reported as the source of mental health issues for young teens.

The decline of mental health in young teens is most consistently attributed to the comparison promoting nature that Instagram promotes.

According to the Social Dilemma organization, “A 5,000 person study [in 2017] found that higher social media use correlated with self-reported declines in mental and physical health and life satisfaction.”

According to the Social Dilemma, a Netflix Documentary on social media’s affect on society released in 2020, suicide rates have gone up 70% for teenagers between the ages of 15 and 19 compared to the average made from 2001-2010. Even more troubling, that same number has gone up nearly 151% for girls between the ages of 10-14. This drastic uprise in suicide all surrounds the year 2009, when social media was made available on mobile devices.

The idea that social media perpetuates lies is not new, what is new is the drop of nearly 5% in Facebook’s shares.

According to Tom Huddleston Jr., a writer for CNBC, “CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s personal net worth is also down this week, by about $4 billion so far.”

If you look at the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Zuckerberg has been bumped down significantly to the number five spot with a net worth of around $124 billion.

“He can afford it,” science teacher Danielle Okamoto said. “It’ll go back up and he’ll be just fine.”




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