Life without Facebook? Social network outage triggers moans and more
CGTN

Facebook grappled with a widespread outage on Thursday, forcing millions of people to taste life without the world's largest social media platform.

It was probably the last thing Facebook needed as it stumbles from problem to problem, including outrage over its use of customers' private data.

The outage began Wednesday afternoon and triggered a flood of gripes on downdetector.com, which tracks trouble accessing online pages, and on social media rival Twitter.

A Downdetector map late Wednesday showed Facebook service troubles persisting in parts of Australia, Asia, Europe, South America and North America. 

A file photo shows a computer screen displaying the Facebook webpage with the new "Reactions" options as an extension of the "like" button, to give people more ways to easily signal how they feel, Madrid, October 9, 2015. /VCG Photo

A file photo shows a computer screen displaying the Facebook webpage with the new "Reactions" options as an extension of the "like" button, to give people more ways to easily signal how they feel, Madrid, October 9, 2015. /VCG Photo

As of early Thursday the problem remained in parts of Europe and Asia. Some media outlets branded the outage as the biggest in Facebook's history.

The outage, of unknown origin, also affected Facebook-owned Instagram, as well as Messenger, although Instagram later said it was back up.

In some cases the apps could be accessed but would not load posts or handle missives.

Reason for the outage

The California firm, which has more than two billion users, acknowledged the outage after users noted on Twitter they could not access Facebook or had limited functionality.

European Parliament President Antonio Tajani (L) and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg (R) during an audition at the European Parliament on the data privacy scandal at the European Union headquarters in Brussels, May 22, 2018. /VCG Photo

European Parliament President Antonio Tajani (L) and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg (R) during an audition at the European Parliament on the data privacy scandal at the European Union headquarters in Brussels, May 22, 2018. /VCG Photo

"We're aware that some people are currently having trouble accessing the Facebook family of apps. We're working to resolve the issue as soon as possible," a Facebook statement said on Twitter.

A short time later, Facebook indicated the outage was not related to an attack aimed at overwhelming the network.

"We're focused on working to resolve the issue as soon as possible, but can confirm that the issue is not related to a DDoS attack," Facebook said.

Facebook subpoenaed for privacy issues

While the outage continued, The New York Times reported that U.S. prosecutors have launched a criminal investigation into the social network's practice of sharing users' data with companies without letting them know.

A grand jury in New York has subpoenaed information from at least two major smartphone makers about such arrangements with Facebook, according to the Times.

Regulators, investigators and elected officials in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world have already been digging into the data sharing practices of Facebook.

The social network's handling of user data has been a flashpoint for controversy since it admitted last year that Cambridge Analytica, a political consultancy which did work for Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign, used an app that may have hijacked the private details of 87 million users.

One hundred cardboard cutouts of Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg stand outside the US Capitol in Washington, D.C., April 10, 2018. /VCG Photo

One hundred cardboard cutouts of Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg stand outside the US Capitol in Washington, D.C., April 10, 2018. /VCG Photo

"It has already been reported that there are ongoing federal investigations, including by the Department of Justice," a Facebook spokesman said in response to an AFP inquiry.

Regulators, and now prosecutors, appear intent on determining whether this was done in ways that let users know what was happening and protected privacy.

The social network has announced a series of moves to tighten handling of data, including eliminating most of its data-sharing partnerships with outside companies.

Are we all addicts?

However the recent Facebook outage also caused some to highlight the issue of "social media addiction."

According to the data by the end of 2018, Facebook had 2.32 billion active users per month. On Twitter, around 500 million tweets are posted every day. It means 6,000 tweets per second. On Instagram, the daily number of images uploaded is 95 million. On YouTube, a total length of about 300 hours of video is uploaded every minute.

While some complained about being locked out of the social media platform, others went online to poke fun at them and their "addiction."

A woman holds a smart phone with the icons for the social networking apps Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and others seen on the screen in Moscow, March 23, 2018. /VCG Photo

A woman holds a smart phone with the icons for the social networking apps Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and others seen on the screen in Moscow, March 23, 2018. /VCG Photo

"You guys should look in the mirror at yourselves and hear how you sound," a person with the handle Johanna wrote on Downdetector around 0745 GMT.

"You make it sound as if it's the end of the world just because you can't be on Facebook. Lmfao. Get a real life instead of a digital one!?!?!?"

Another whose handle is Palmina D'Allesandro mused that time without Mark Zuckerberg's baby might have been good for making the real, human kind.

"Up and running here.....for now.....But I predict a baby boom in nine months, Remember that day FB went down and people were forced to notice each other?" one person wrote.

With Facebook now up and running again, people can at least now get their "fix" whenever they want.

(Top Photo: A file photo shows that silhouettes of laptop users are seen next to a screen projection of Facebook logo, March 28, 2018. /VCG Photo)

Source(s): AFP