Implications of the Facebook crash

Photo courtesy of Blake Israel

On the morning of Monday, Oct. 2, Facebook, along with several of its other major social media apps including Instagram, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, unexpectedly crashed.

Despite only being down for a couple of hours, the after effects of this Internet crash were severe — these apps are used by billions of people across the world every single day and also serve as a vital method of communication, information sharing and commerce that directly affect many people’s livelihoods.

Facebook being erased from the Internet for not even a whole day revealed to us the true dystopian world that we are living by exposing us to the harms and absurdity of what happens when we let one corporation globally own and control such a crucial aspect of our lives.

If the crash had happened for longer than just a couple of hours and extended into days and maybe even weeks, the world may have experienced a science fiction-esque crisis similar to that of a watered down episode of “Black Mirror.”

The amount of global power and influence that Facebook has is uncanny; for some countries like India, Facebook has become almost synonymous with the Internet, and smart phones are often already preinstalled with the Facebook app, making the company ingrained in the country’s communication systems.

Especially with all of its new features like live streaming, virtual reality, messaging and buying and selling on a virtual marketplace, Facebook has taken an all encompassing and inescapable hold of our lives.

Facebook has become a lifeline for people communicating with their friends, family and other loved ones across the world and became even more crucial to our everyday lives over the course of the pandemic.

Social media and communication apps are no longer just fun ways to post photos and send things to your friends; they have become the basis of entire communities that have meaningful impacts on the lives of everyday people.

In addition, many other non-Facebook owned applications, services and websites now use Facebook as a way to sign in, which puts even more power in the hands of the multinational corporation.

On the day of the crash, not only were the Facebook apps themselves inaccessible, but some people with Facebook-backed logins were not even able to access even basic things like their Internet-connected home appliances and business websites.

While the internet gifted us with a more interconnected world, it does not make sense from a logical or privacy and safety point of view to rely on one singular corporation to keep the modern world running.

Luckily, the world has started to open their eyes to how dangerous big media and tech giants have become.

Between ex-employee whistle blowers to documentaries to antitrust lawsuits, companies like Facebook are under scrutiny as more and more people are becoming aware of how their company is unethically profiting off of selling and using their personal data.

As massive multinational corporations like Facebook and Amazon continue to grow more powerful and play a major role in our lives, governments and world leaders need to hold them accountable or else people’s livelihoods and privacy may be at risk.