Most people think that we’re still a few decades away from the cyborg dystopian future where we’d be connected to the world through implants and things would get hacked throwing the world into chaos and oblivion. However, we’re much closer to that reality than we realise.
Our smartphones are an extension of our minds and while they are not something we have implanted into our bodies; they are pretty damn close to being just that. We carry our phones with us literally everywhere we go. They are the extension of our minds because our memories, information, friends and everything else is stored on them.
If you start to think about how the world would be now without smartphones and social media, you’d end up in a rabbit hole as the effect of social media is far too widespread and massive for us to comprehend in a simplistic way.
Just the fact that social media connects people in so many ways and for so many causes can seem pretty impressive. What we’ve managed to achieve as the human race cannot be undermined. We take these things for granted and never really sit back and think how bizarre yet impressive everything is. You get woken up by your phone, it reads out the news and weather report for the day, you get ready for work and get inside your Tesla which also drives to you because you summoned it through your phone. The phone automatically connects to the massive console in your car and starts playing your favorite podcast while the car drives itself to work. All of this is great and convenient. However, when we think about how dependent we are on these things, it can start to seem rather jarring. Let’s talk about what happened today though.
Massive worldwide Facebook outage causes chaos
As you’ve probably noticed by now, Facebook and all of its services are experiencing a major outage right now. This has affected Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, WhatsApp and Oculus. While users are still able to log into their accounts and text and browse normally, the media is failing to load. This started happening on early Wednesday morning when we first heard reports of Facebook servers experiencing some sort of downtime. Users were unable to download any media be it images, videos or audio files.
“We’re aware that some people are having trouble uploading or sending images, videos and other files on our apps. We’re sorry for the trouble and are working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible,” posted Facebook on its Twitter account confirming that the social media network was indeed experiencing issues. However, hours have passed since the initial crash and there are still no signs of any improvement. We are able to download some images now but the issue seems to have been shifted to the upload side now. This is not the first time Facebook is experiencing issues though. These outages have become too frequent for something of Facebook’s size. We’ve already had 4 Facebook outages in 2019 already. However, before diving into some of the darker stuff, let’s take a look at the one positive that came out as a result of this outage.
Twitter mocks Facebook users for living in the ‘stone age’
The rivalry between Facebook and Twitter has been going on for eons now. One platform suffers any setback and the other one’s brigade comes out to poke fun at it. Twitter users think that they’re the smarter ones and Facebook is a place for old people. On the flipside, Facebook users think that Twitter users don’t have much sense of humour. Nevertheless, as a result we get some good memes out of it which is always a win-win situation. Here’s how Twitter mocked Facebook users today.
— _ilyasperkaseh (@keylordxd) July 3, 2019
I mean, to be fair, if you’re completely reliant on Facebook and its services, the current situation would not be far off from being in the stone age.
Instagram, Facebook, and WhatsApp all being reported as down.
Is it working for you? pic.twitter.com/ksTgXQKZqj
— Matt Navarra | 🚨 #StayAtHome (@MattNavarra) July 3, 2019
Social media plays an important role in many businesses and seeing your business shut down because of a random outage can be pretty infuriating.
The Facebook crash gave us a harsh reality check
I use most of the social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp. When the ability to download media on WhatsApp went away, I switched over to Messenger. However, I soon realised that Messenger is owned by the same company and it has the same problem. After that, I switched on to Instagram and the same thing happened again. The crushing reality came down on me and I realised how much of my life is actually dependent on Facebook. Now, I’m not a social media businessman or influencer so I don’t use social media for businesses. Just the fact that a single company controls so much of my life and has so much information about me is actually ‘black mirror’ level of scary.
Privacy is extremely important and seeing how easy it is to break into the networks of these social media platforms is actually terrifying. We’ve also had many cases of these companies selling our data without consent. I could go on and on about how much Facebook knows about us and how vulnerable we actually are but that is another story for another day. These social media networks have failed over and over again at being stable and keeping our information secure. Recently, Cloudflare also went down and brought down the internet with it. I feel like this needs to be dialed down a few notches and these companies need to do better. One snap and everything comes crashing down; from your photos to your ability to talk to your friends.
Yes, there are other platforms you could use to communicate with each other like Telegram but they just aren’t good enough. Even if they do get good enough, another big corporation is going to come and put them in its shopping cart. Facebook has enabled some amazing things as well though and that cannot be taken away from it. So many people run their businesses on Facebook and Instagram and it has contributed massively in terms of people being able to make their livelihoods off it. However, the same point comes back when you think about it. Facebook going down resulted in these businesses essentially shutting down. I don’t exactly know how much but my guess is that the losses that have been incurred due to the outage are in millions if not in billions.
However, at the end of the day, it is what it is and trying to resist the onslaught of social media is not really going to help. We should, instead, embrace it and then try to actually fight against the negatives that it introduces. Yes, we’re already pushing these companies towards better privacy policies but the struggle needs to be more mainstream. Another thing that we should strive for is the reduction of negative impacts that social media has on mental health. For example, Instagram is already testing a feature to hide the like count which, in my opinion, is a much-needed feature. Digital well-being is extremely important and shifting our focus fully onto it has never been more crucial.