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Massive Facebook Outage Reveals Bigger Issue For Social Media Giant
Today, Facebook officials reported the technical issue that triggered a widespread outage earlier this week had been fixed. The interruption also impacted Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp, and is believed to be the biggest interruption ever for the massive social media company.
Lee McKnight is an associate professor at Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies. He says we may never know the precise cause of the 22-hour Facebook and Instagram outage, but it does raise other questions about Facebook’s public obligation to report to regulators.
“The recent Facebook and Instagram outage is blamed not on a virus, malware, or DDOS cyberattack, but a ‘server issue.’
“The fact that a network of billions of users could seize up – because of a typo in a line of code, other random human or machine error, or a malicious actor intending to disrupt Facebook’s servers – should not surprise us since we have been here before. We may or may not ever know the precise cause of the epic 22-hour outage. Because it is a private firm operating private networks, there is no public service obligation on Facebook to report on its performance to regulators as there is for a telecommunications firm or other service providers. Should there be?
“In sum, yesterday’s outage and people’s reaction that something vital was taken from them suggests it is time to broaden the regulatory debate around the new dominant platforms of our times, and our lives, to include both privacy and data protection, and perhaps other additional reporting and performance obligations.”
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