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Massive Global Facebook Outage Affected Over 3.5 Billion People Six-Hour Outage Cost Facebook an Estimated $6 Billion

author image Written by: Nicole McCormick           Categories - In The News, Social Media

Yesterday was a pretty eventful day for influencers, social media managers, and casual social media users (or uneventful, depending on how you look at it). Yes, we’re talking about themassive global Facebook outage that saw Facebook-owned apps like Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp go down for over six hours.

For those living under a rock, the outage began around 11:40 AM eastern time on  October 4 and lasted until around 6:30 PM, affecting over 3.5 billion users worldwide.

It’s been reported that the outage caused significant damage to the social media giant, resulting in shares plummeting and costing founder Mark Zuckerberg an estimated $6 billion.

Besides platforms shutting down for several hours, some eagle-eyed observers also noticed that during the outage, the Facebook domain went up for sale. Considering the fact that Facebook and all its other platforms are now functioning as normal, it’s safe to say nobody was able to purchase the domain out from under them. However, it’d be pretty interesting to see how that situation would have played out.

So, what exactly caused such an unprecedented event? Facebook confirmed it was “configuration changes on the backbone routers that co-ordinate network traffic between our data centres caused issues that interrupted this communication” and had a “cascading effect… bringing our services to a halt.”

Facebook added that it is still trying to determine what exactly happened so it can “make our infrastructure more resilient,” but that there was “no evidence that user data was compromised.”

Once all platforms came back online yesterday evening, Mark Zuckerberg also issued an apology on his public Facebook page, posting:

“Sorry for the disruption today — I know how much you rely on our services to stay connected with the people you care about.”

Many have theorized that the outage was caused by something much bigger than just a glitch, and is related to former Facebook employee Frances Haugen’s upcoming testimony on Capitol Hill. Haugen is expected to testify today about allegations that the company “chooses profits over safety’

The Ripple Effect

Besides social media users being unable to post about their day-to-day lives or latest anti-vax theories, the outage had a massive effect on billions of people and businesses around the world.

Here’s one example: For over six hours, Twitter experienced a massive boost in popularity as Instagram and Facebook users flooded the platform in order to communicate with one another and find out more information about the outage. In fact, traffic was so unusually high that Twitter experienced its own small outage.

It’s also important to note that for some, this outage was merely an inconvenience that meant a day off from social media, but for small businesses and marketing professionals who rely on Facebook and Instagram to communicate with customers and market themselves, this outage was pretty devastating. Fortunately the outage was resolved in less than a day, and no significant damage was caused (with the exception of Facebook’s monetary loss and damaged reputation).

Nicole McCormick

Nicole is a wordsmith wizard, passionate about the written word and an avid storyteller who uses creatively crafted prose to help bring your brand’s story to the next level. A former journalist with writing credits in both local and national news publications and a few newspaper awards under her belt, Nicole now enjoys telling your stories and finding new and creative ways to create valuable content that resonates with audiences in the digital landscape.

Facebook shares report with content view insights

08/23/2021

Many marketers and businesses use Facebook to connect with potential customers, and that shouldn’t come as a surprise. After all, the platform has roughly 2.89 billion active users per month.

Those who use Facebook for the purposes mentioned above may be curious to know what the site’s users actually see – and now, there’s a report that offers that information.

Last week, Facebook published the ‘Widely Viewed Content Report’ as part of its Transparency Centre blog. The report offers insights to help readers understand what kind of content is more likely to appear in a user’s Facebook newsfeed.

“Transparency is an important part of everything we do at Facebook,” the company said in the report’s overview. “In this first quarterly report, our goal is to provide clarity around what people see in their Facebook News Feed, the different content types that appear in their Feed and the most-viewed domains, links, Pages and posts on the platform during the quarter.”

Specifically, the report includes views of public content in the U.S. between April 1, 2021 and June 30, 2021. It does not look at what users do outside of their newsfeed – say, on Facebook Marketplace or other areas.

Notable Findings

The report defines a ‘view’ as any instance where content appears on a user’s newsfeed – the user does not have to interact with the content in any way for a view to be counted.

The report shares that posts with no links are far more likely to be viewed than those with links. Specifically, 87.1% of posts viewed have no link.

One section in the report shows the top twenty web domains that are viewed on newsfeeds. Youtube ranked the highest, with Amazon, Unicef, GoFundMe, and Twitter following.

The report also includes lists of the most viewed web links, Facebook pages, and Facebook posts. Notably, almost all of the ten most viewed posts were posts that challenged readers to respond (i.e. “What is something you will never eat, no matter how hungry you get?”) The only exception is the sixth most viewed post: U.S. President Joe Biden’s post that reads, “100 days in—and America is getting back on track.”

Facebook plans to share similar reports in the future, with a possibility of this being a quarterly offering.

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Facebook Develops New Privacy Technologies

08/16/2021

At a time in which Facebook is facing controversy over its relationship with privacy, the company has announced that it is launching a “multi-year effort” to build practices that prioritize privacy.

Specifically, Facebook announced this week that is partnering with academics and global organizations to work on projects involving privacy-enhancing technologies (PETs). This term refers to technologies that minimize the amount of user data processed in order to protect personal information.

“PETs involve advanced techniques drawn from the fields of cryptography and statistics,” Facebook wrote. “These techniques help minimize the data that’s processed while preserving critical functionality like ad measurement and personalization.”

This news comes at a time in which Facebook is in the hot seat. The company has been the centre of privacy disputes for years, and it recently shut down third-party research efforts.

Thus, Facebook’s new push for PETs may be a sign of good things to come – or it may simply be an effort to change the company’s reputation.

Read below to learn about the three types of PETs that Facebook is working on.

Secure Multi-Party Computation

Multi-party computation, or MPC, allows multiple organizations to work with the same data set without unnecessarily sharing private data between the parties. Data is encrypted on both sides, preventing each party from seeing the other party’s data.

Facebook is testing a product called Private Lift Measurement, which uses MPC to assist advertisers.

On-Device Learning

While MPC is based on collaborative efforts between parties, on-device learning is based on a singular device’s data. On-device learning essentially trains an algorithm to find insights on a device without tracking individual data.

Facebook compares the feature to something like auto-correct or text prediction, explaining that the algorithm works based on a user’s habits rather than their private data.

Differential Privacy

This feature adds an extra touch of privacy by adding ‘noise’ to data sets. In other words, it adds a bit of incorrect or falsified information to less important parts of the data or identifiers. This is particularly helpful for large data sets used in public research.

Facebook has described the development of these technologies as a multi-year effort, and has not shared a tentative release date.

 

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