Facebook crash reveals risks in social networking products | Social media messages
The global crash of Facebook Inc. highlighted the risks of trusting its social networking products and supported efforts by European regulators to limit its reach, just as a US whistleblower’s testimony threatens to be scrutinized more unintentionally at home will.
While Europe woke to find Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and messenger services online again, the extent of the blackout quickly led to criticism on Monday. European Union antitrust leader and digital tsarina Margrethe Vestager said Facebook’s failure would draw attention to the company’s dominance.
“It’s always important that people have alternatives and choices. That’s why we’re working to keep the digital markets fair and open to challenge, ”said Vestager. “A failure like the one we’ve seen shows that it’s never good to rely on just a few big players, whoever they are.”
The networking problem that paralyzed services used by more than 2.75 billion people could not have come at a worse time. After a US television interview on Sunday, whistleblower Frances Haugen will appear before a Senate subcommittee on Tuesday and tell lawmakers the “terrifying truth” about Facebook. Haugen’s allegations that the company prioritized profit over user safety still made headlines when Facebook services went down.
The revelations prompted U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to highlight the risks faced by countries that rely on the services for communications.
Facebook climbed up to 1.3% to $ 330.33 in New York, down 4.9% on Monday.
Facebook is already facing numerous antitrust and data protection investigations across Europe as well as an intensive review of even small deals such as the planned takeover of a customer service software provider. The company was fined 225 million euros ($ 261 million) last month for data corruption on WhatsApp and is facing separate antitrust investigations by the European Commission and the German Federal Cartel Office.
EU lawmakers will vote in the coming months on new laws that would limit the ability of powerful internet platforms like Facebook to expand into new services. The interruption of the services shows the “serious consequences” of the dependency on a company for important communication channels and that Facebook should never have bought Instagram and WhatsApp, said Rasmus Andresen, a German Green MEP in the European Parliament.
“Everyone in the European Union as well as in the USA must now recognize at the latest that we need strong regulations against quasi-monopolies,” said Andresen in a statement. “We need close transatlantic cooperation.”
The event spurred Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s call for a new digital “order”, a man who does not tolerate political criticism on social media. The hour-long shutdown has shown how “fragile” social networks are, said Fahrettin Altun, his president’s communications director, and called for the rapid development of “domestic and national” alternatives. “The problem we saw has shown us how our data is at risk, how quickly and easily our social freedoms can be restricted,” Altun said in a number of Twitter posts.
The nationalist party Alternative for Germany welcomed the disruption. Legislator Beatrix von Storch said she hoped competitors would benefit from it.
In Nigeria, the blackout silenced President Muhammadu Buhari’s communications team, government officials and governors in 36 states for six hours. The government has increasingly relied on Facebook to keep the public informed after Twitter’s services were banned on June 5 in Africa’s most populous country. A spokesman for the presidential office declined to comment.
Hungarian opposition politicians who use Facebook products to bypass state media complained that the company could not be relied on in the election campaign against Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
Facebook is “for us opposition politicians one of the last media in which we can speak to you and which is not completely dominated by the Fidesz party,” said Budapest Mayor Gergely Karacsony in a video published on Tuesday. Problems with the platform threaten the ability to disseminate information, he said.
The outage forced some phone companies to take action. The Polish play unit of Parisian telecommunications company Iliad SA recorded an eight-fold increase in customer service calls between 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. local time, according to a blog post on its website. It had to reconfigure its network to avoid congestion.
“This failure shows the over-dependency we have on a single company and the need for diversity and more competition,” said Jim Killock, executive director of the Open Rights Group in London, in an interview. “Their dependence on data-driven, attention-enhancing products is dangerous and needs to be challenged through interventions that enable greater competition.”