Netizens all over the globe have seen 2 outages in a week for the World’s biggest Social media platforms Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp. It has turned out to be an eye-opener for many who were having high dependence on it.
FACEBOOK- The Monopolistic Master
Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram have eventually become major social media applications which have a combined user base of around 3.6 billion users.
Facebook has turned out to be the most used social media platform across the globe and has acquired around 2.8 billion active monthly users. This number is enormous.
Initially, WhatsApp and Instagram were two independent applications. However, as a part of its expansion plan, Facebook decided to acquire both these companies. Instagram was acquired in 2009 whereas Whatsapp was acquired in 2014.
It was decided that the founders of these respective apps will continue to work with Facebook which will only be the owner from the financial point of view. However, operationally the founders will be given complete freedom to grow their apps. This plan did not work out and one by one, all founders quit Facebook, citing excessive interference by Mark Zuckerberg and the Facebook management.
These exits were early indications that Mark Zuckerberg had plans to merge these three very different apps to create one giant social media conglomerate.
WHATSAPP, FACEBOOK AND INSTAGRAM – A TREMENDOUS TRIO
The merger of WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram has made it easy for users to access these apps. Although, the consequences have been immense. The 6 hours outage made many of us remember the days when ‘There was a power cut at our houses and no fuel in the generator.’ This was not just because of our high dependence on social media but on a single social media platform. People around the globe are adapting to the technological changes, so are their businesses and these platforms have turned out to be an easy way to do so.
These have gradually become a necessary infrastructure for the global economy.
Talking about the impact of an outage, it has not only impacted Facebook by reducing its market capitalisation by $50 billion but also while the issue was being fixed, it lost around $99.75 million in revenue. For many, the outage was a minor annoyance.
For Facebook, it was a massive market devaluation while for others, it was a large-scale infrastructure collapse that left them in the dark.
This centralised social media platform has also impacted the earnings of many small businessmen, traders and other people who highly depend on Facebook for their livelihood as many small businesses use Facebook’s apps and products to propel their business to as many people as possible. Instagram and Facebook Marketplace have become the home of small local businesses and WhatsApp is a great facilitator of conversation between customer and seller.
The Bigger Problem
There has been a much bigger problem going on within Facebook and the outage helped to highlight the same. Not only on the day of the Outage, Facebook’s share price suffered a downfall but in the last one month, Facebook has seen a decline of 14% and according to the experts it doesn’t seem as if a rebound is likely anytime soon.
Facebook might be advantageous for some users, however , if we look at it the other way it is doing more harm socially and that too just to increase its profits. It has become a tool for propagandists, sex traffickers and drug cartels. In Myanmar, Facebook played a key role in spurring violence against the ethnic Rohingya. The company’s executives not only refuse to properly regulate Facebook’s users but they saw the financial benefits of allowing extremism and misinformation to run rampant on its site.
In a developing country like India, we aim to digitalize our economy to a farther extent. But, are we digitalizing in the right manner? Is the centralization of social media the right way to do it?
No, we are not going the right way, a 6 hours outage can wreck our business and we still have no clue.
India lacks a home-grown platform to combat this problem. Building a platform that could compete with Facebook is a major challenge. The government should intervene in this process and collaborate with Indian tech giants like TCS, Infosys, and HCL to build such a platform. This would also provide a boost to the Indian economy.
A Lesson Learnt
“You can never make the same mistake twice because the second time you make it, it’s not a mistake it’s a choice.”
Experiencing two outages in a week acted as an eye-opener for many but there are still people persisting and relying on a single platform.
The major problem that has been seen with the users is the acceptance of other social media platforms due to the user-friendly interface of Facebook. Users shall try adapting themselves to other platforms like Telegram as reliance on one is risk-taking.
Following the social media algorithm, these outages welcomed a meme flood as soon as the platforms were back in action! While Reliance Jio outage the very next day was a cherry on top for memes.