Patterico's Pontifications

10/4/2021

Bad Day for Facebook

Filed under: General — JVW @ 2:46 pm



[guest post by JVW]

Item One
From Fox News:

Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen took aim at her former employer, accusing the social media giant of “tearing our societies apart” in an interview with CBS’ 60 Minutes.

“The version of Facebook that exists today is tearing our societies apart and causing ethnic violence around the world,” Haugen told 60 Minutes Sunday.

Haugen accused the company of placing profit above the good for the public, despite assurances from Facebook leadership that the company was working to make the platform safe.

“There were conflicts of interest between what was good for the public and what was good for Facebook. And Facebook, over and over again, chose to optimize for its own interests, like making more money,” Haugen said.

Haugen’s interview comes after she collected documents and blew the whistle on Facebook to the Wall Street Journal, which then published a series of reports on the files that revealed previously unknown details about the inner workings of the social media company.

Item Two
Also at Fox News:

Facebook’s platforms, including Instagram and WhatsApp, are suffering from widespread outages Monday.

According to DownDetecter, thousands of users across the globe began reporting outages on Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp and Oculus around 11 a.m. Monday.

“We’re aware that some people are having trouble accessing our apps and products,” Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone tweeted. “We’re working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible, and we apologize for any inconvenience.”

Facebook did not immediately return FOX Business’ request for comment on the cause of the outages.

As of this writing it does not appear that Facebook or Instagram are back up and running. It is being said that this might be the longest worldwide outage of those sites in their history, or at least since both sites became ubiquitous. It looks like China has won, and I for one am opening up my WeChat and Weibo accounts now.

UDPATE 2:56 pm
And ten minutes after I posted this it would appear that both Facebook and Instagram are naturally fully restored. But this represents a nearly seven hour outage.

– JVW

28 Responses to “Bad Day for Facebook”

  1. Oh, and Facebook’s stock has fallen nearly 5% in trading value today. It’s being estimated that this shaved $7 billion off of Mark Zuckerberg personal portfolio.

    JVW (ee64e4)

  2. UDPATE 2:56 pm
    And ten minutes after I posted this it would appear that both Facebook and Instagram are naturally fully restored. But this represents a nearly seven hour outage.

    JVW (ee64e4)

  3. Zuckerberg warned this would happen if Saverin put a hold on the Facebook checking account.

    lurker (59504c)

  4. Real whistleblowers get lawsuits and lives ruined, not a prefixed audition on 60 minutes. Setting up the American people for another sting. Lets get the gubmint involved…

    mg (8cbc69)

  5. A different take on the Facebook document leak.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  6. Facebook, out of service? I cannot find the words to tell you just how upset that made me.

    The libertarian, but not Libertarian, Dana (fcc309)

  7. Facebook and Twitter belong in the New York sewer system along with Trump.

    norcal (b9a35f)

  8. Q. If discussing hacked or illegally obtained material is prohibited by Facebook’s rules, how can anyone on Facebook – or Twitter – or any of these platforms – discuss any of this?

    Sammy Finkelman (51cd0c)

  9. With face book being down all the racists couldn’t complain that the winning black driver not be given the trophy again as they did in 1963.

    asset (70015c)

  10. There are folks who think that Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram ought to be separate companies.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  11. BTW, I hate Facebook, refuse to use Twitter but find WhatsApp extremely useful. I would hate to see it swallowed up by the Blob.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  12. I would hate to see it swallowed up by the Blob.

    Don’t worry. Chris Christie is on the east coast.

    norcal (b9a35f)

  13. I thought WhatsApp was only popular in Old Mexico. It’s sort of a meme amongst Mexican American high school age youth that if your girl has WhatsApp she met some dude on her summer or Christmas visit to her family’s hometown.

    urbanleftbehind (b39650)

  14. Facebook is good at some things;

    -Lots of people are on it.
    -It’s done a decent job of mapping my social network and made it easy to connect with friends of friends and acquaintances.
    -Until I stopped loading pictures to it it was an OK scrap book.
    -It’s still a decent way to share generic family news with people that might be interested.
    -The facebook memories feature is great. Also, it allows me to copy down all the stuff I loaded up so i have my own copies.
    -Marketplace has been really convenient for me. I like that the sellers / buyers have some reputational risks.

    That’s the product they sell me that I can’t easily get anywhere else. That’s their value add. It looks like their efforts to monetize took them pretty far away from that. I doubt I’d miss them much if they were gone. The outage yesterday barely registered to me but they’re not entirely useless.

    Their politics seems to be wholly mercantile. Conservatives love to complain about them but they seem very happy to support MAGA friendly messages and i think most of those complaints are just the normal conservative pity party. From what I see they’ll support whatever makes them money. Which i don’t approve of, but I also don’t think using speech rights badly means the government gets to take those rights away.

    Time123 (9f42ee)

  15. https://www.nytimes.com/live/2021/10/05/technology/facebook-whistleblower-frances-haugen

    I think we’re only getting criticism that appeals to the left. It’s all about how there is not enough censorship, not so much too much or the wrong kind.

    Sammy Finkelman (51cd0c)

  16. What really gets hurt are opinions that dissent both from the left and from the right, because far right memes are said by large accounts and there is a different standard for VIPs. That’s what makes it divisive.

    Sammy Finkelman (51cd0c)

  17. Video testimony:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GOnpVQnv5Cw

    They’re going to break about 11:30 EDT

    Sammy Finkelman (51cd0c)

  18. She wants algorithms not to be covered by Section 230, and in general, for content to be less likely to go viral. This causes a problem in ih schols. Everybody is in the same, very public, group.
    here is another criticism, but t is not so simple to stop it. In certain countries Facebook it can be used to kill people, and their anti-promotion of violence initiatives (which are not foolproof) were not done in certain languages. I notice they talk about Ethiopia and Burma but not India. Probably because she has no facile answer about India. And, of course, they don’t talk about promotion of murder of Israelis.

    The whole hearing goes on as if there were an objective way to determine what is misinformation (with Covid they tend to use anything officials disagree with) and as if some of the most blistering criticism Facebook has undergone is accusations of saying something is misinformation when it isn’t, or only finding misinformation on one side of a controversy and not misinformation that is used to support the other side.

    When they criticize Facebook for not taking down posts that say that Michael Brown was murdered, then you can maybe take them seriously. Otherwise this is just an atempt to rig the rules.

    Sammy Finkelman (51cd0c)

  19. * as if </b some of the most blistering criticism Facebook has undergone was NOT accusations of saying something is misinformation when it is not.

    https://nypost.com/2020/10/14/facebook-twitter-block-the-post-from-posting

    Sammy Finkelman (51cd0c)

  20. They didn’t actually base ther censorship of the New York Post on the idea that it was misinformation.

    They said it violated rules about posting hacked material. Except that is not the way the New York Post obtained it.

    One point not mentioned is that the procedures for removing material depend on complaints. To prevent manipulation the nature and amount of the complaints is an important input — but it’s probably not secret and is subject to astroturfing.

    The committee went into recess – will resume later. Now being repeated at my link.

    Sammy Finkelman (51cd0c)

  21. She claims that if we knew the rules by which Facebook works, we would devise solutions that did impair free speech. That Facebook claims it is unsolvable, but that’s a false choice.

    What you could do, is set rules for who sets the rules, and require in most cases, transparency, Obviously, different rules or features can create various kinds of problems.

    The favorite criticism is promoting anorexia by steering people from post to post. And even more teenage girls get unhappy with their bodies.

    Sammy Finkelman (51cd0c)

  22. It should be maybe, that once a platform reaches a certain size and maintains it for a certain period of time, and also spreads over a wide geographic area, a committee composed of a wide variety of average people, preferably almost all long term users, chosen in a way that cannot be manipulated to get a certain result, would be able to affect the rules, and require super majorities to do anything important or lasting.

    Some politically appointed regulatory body sounds like avery very bad idea. They are not neutral, and are susceptible to panics and lobbying.

    And you don’t want China involved. You can do it on the grounds, that Facebook and Instagram are U.S. based platforms or you can do it on the basis of stockholders because for most problems with the way a platform works out in real life, rich educated people are affected about the same way as others, or maybe even more so.

    In undemocratic countries, or countries without functioning law enforcement systems, platforms can be used to commit crimes. Mexican drug cartels have advertised for hot men – or for training hit women. Facebpok apparently put a stop to that, but you get the idea.

    Sammy Finkelman (51cd0c)

  23. Frances Haugen said, or seems to have said, that however bad things were at school for someone, when they got home, there was a break. But now children and teenagers can be connected all the time. If they disassociate, they are lonely. It’s not realistic for parents to say don’t pay attention to it, because Facebook is addictive to some people, more than just the 5% or 6% who admit it, and there is Fear of Missing Out) so government should outlaw teenagers being on social media.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  24. You don’t go from zero to one trillion (dollars that is) in market capitalization in 17 years without predation on a grand scale, no matter how clement your capitalist climate and how good your better mousetrap.

    But, otherwise, I really don’t care what Mrs. Pentangelli has to say about the way Michael is running the Corleone Family. The lady obviously has her own axe to grind and a lot of that is just her opinion.

    nk (1d9030)

  25. It wasn’t just Facebook. It was Spectrum as well. I lost the ability to log on to my account and email two days ago. I called, and the representive said it was because of a power outage in my area. I found this strange, because I didn’t lose internet access. So I think this was more of a systemic problem than anything else.

    Gawain's Ghost (c6fd3b)

  26. Mr Finkelman wrote:

    It should be maybe, that once a platform reaches a certain size and maintains it for a certain period of time, and also spreads over a wide geographic area, a committee composed of a wide variety of average people, preferably almost all long term users, chosen in a way that cannot be manipulated to get a certain result, would be able to affect the rules, and require super majorities to do anything important or lasting.

    Do it the simple way: designate it a public utility.

    Why did I sign on to Facebook? Because my daughter’s basic training unit at Ft Jackson used it to send photos and messages about how the trainees are doing. Families love it! But if the federal government is using Facebook to communicate in that manner, how can it not be seen as a public utility?

    The libertarian, but not Libertarian, Dana (19ac30)

  27. 27. The libertarian, but not Libertarian, Dana (19ac30) — 10/7/2021 @ 1:20 pm

    Do it the simple way: designate it a public utility.

    But that allows forums to work in ways that almost nobody likes. And the witness said, Facebook is using metrics to decide how to works, and the goal is maximizing time spent on Facebook, and that leads to people being steered to (sent notices of) things that alarm them, often false, or anger them – get them involved in arguments etc.

    Well, she dldn’t put it that way. She talked about “mental health” which turns out to especially be teenagers being sent to things that made them feel bad, especially teenage girls about their bodies, or they could get steered to things that promoted anorexia, or being on Facebook could lead to the creation of bullying they can’t get away from because everyone they know from their school is on that forum and they have gotta know what’s being said about them. Some of that flows from the rules of what someone sees easiest.

    There could be arguments for suicide and all kinds of things people generally agree are undesirable (also, this argument doesn’t say, things that mostly or only people from one part of the political spectrum agree is undesirable.)

    Why did I sign on to Facebook? Because my daughter’s basic training unit at Ft Jackson used it to send photos and messages about how the trainees are doing. Families love it! But if the federal government is using Facebook to communicate in that manner, how can it not be seen as a public utility?

    The federal government is also (lightly) maybe policing that forum.

    Sammy Finkelman (51cd0c)

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