The Facebook outage highlights the fragility of our online lives

Our interlude from Facebook this week may have been brief but it begs the question: should we be so reliant on one company, asks Lucy Anna Gray

Thursday 07 October 2021 00:01
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<p>Facebook went down this week, meaning people were unable to access the social media site or Facebook-owned WhatsApp and Instagram </p>

Facebook went down this week, meaning people were unable to access the social media site or Facebook-owned WhatsApp and Instagram

No one could be in any doubt of the immense power of Facebook, but this week that truth was made clearer than ever. When the site suffered a major outage on Monday – taking down Facebook-owned WhatsApp and Instagram with it – the impact was instant. Users seeking answers flocked to Twitter, Google, Reddit and news sites in extraordinary numbers.

By looking at Google Trends – a way of tracking what other people are searching for on Google – you can see just how large the spike in the US was for searches such as “Facebook”, “WhatsApp” and “Instagram”.

US search interest in Facebook (blue), WhatsApp (yellow) and Instagram (red) over the past seven days

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