Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has seized on Facebook’s seven-hour outage to renew her call for the ‘monopolistic’ and ‘destructive’ company to be broken up.
The Democratic congresswoman took aim at the social media giant on rival network Twitter Monday as Facebook was in the grips of a massive blackout that sent Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger offline and lost the company an estimated $100 million in revenue.
AOC said the dramatic fallout from Monday’s outage shows how Facebook’s ‘monopolistic mission’ has ‘incredibly destructive effects on free society and democracy.’
She specifically pointed to the impact it reportedly had on Latin American nations which rely heavily on WhatsApp for communication.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (pictured Friday at the US Capitol) has seized on Facebook’s seven-hour outage to renew her call for the ‘monopolistic’ and ‘destructive’ company to be broken up
The Democratic congresswoman pointed to the impact Facebook’s ‘monopolistic behavior’ reportedly had on Latin American nations which rely heavily on WhatsApp for communication
‘It’s almost as if Facebook’s monopolistic mission to either own, copy, or destroy any competing platform has incredibly destructive effects on free society and democracy,’ AOC tweeted.
‘Remember: WhatsApp wasn’t created by Facebook. It was an independent success. FB got scared & bought it.’
Her comments came in response to a post by Forbes editor José Caparroso during the outage.
‘Latin America lives on WhatsApp. I am surprised by so many people underestimating how catastrophic this downfall has been,’ Caparroso tweeted.
In a follow-up post, AOC argued that Facebook’s ability to buy up several of its competitors had led to the problems some nations were now experiencing.
‘If Facebook’s monopolistic behavior was checked back when it should’ve been (perhaps around the time it started acquiring competitors like Instagram), the continents of people who depend on WhatsApp & IG for either communication or commerce would be fine right now.’
She added: ‘Break them up.’
AOC has repeatedly spoken out against Facebook and Big Tech and has called for them to be broken up in the past.
In May 2019, the New York representative publicly backed Senator Elizabeth Warren’s plan to break up tech giants as part of her 2020 White House run.
AOC has repeatedly spoken out against Facebook and Big Tech and has mounted calls for it to be broken up in the past. Mark Zuckerberg pictured
Zuckerberg apologized about Monday’s outage in a Facebook post when service was restored
‘The idea itself is something that I am supportive of because taking an antitrust approach I believe is absolutely relevant and it’s appropriate to take,’ AOC told Politico at the time.
‘Facebook as a basic communications platform while also selling ads and also being a surveillance platform, I think those functions should be broken up, but how that gets levied and how that gets approached is what we need to take a fine-tooth comb at.’
Warren’s proposal was to break up big tech companies where they have both an online platform and participate in their own marketplace.
Mark Zuckerberg acknowledged the massive impact Monday’s outage had on the platform’s global users in a two-line statement shared on Facebook when service was later restored.
‘Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger are coming back online now,’ he wrote.
‘Sorry for the disruption today – I know how much you rely on our services to stay connected with the people you care about.’
Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp were all brought down for almost seven hours yesterday in a massive global outage. The US tech giant said the problem was caused by a faulty update that was sent to its core servers, which effectively disconnected them from the internet
Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger all went dark just before midday ET through around 7pm ET Monday in what was the longest outage the company has seen since 2008.
The company has blamed a faulty update which it said disconnected its servers from the internet and insisted the outage was not caused by any ‘malicious activity’ such as a cyber attack.
The issue rumbled on longer than necessary because staff were still working from home due to the pandemic and so engineers had to travel to Facebook’s Santa Clara data center to fix the glitch in-person, according to one insider.
The insider, who was posting on Reddit, said the repair was delayed because of ‘lower staffing in data centers due to pandemic measures’.
The glitch also brought down messaging services that remote-working staff use to communicate, so those who knew how to fix the servers couldn’t get that information to the teams inside the data center, the insider said.
Key-fob entry systems at Facebook’s main campus in Menlo were also disabledd, meaning those who had been working from home and rushed back to the office could not get inside while those already inside were unable to access conference rooms and other areas that required a pass.
Facebook has 37 locations in the US, although some are smaller data centers, and normally 15,000 people are based at the Menlo Park HQ. One insider said the issue rumbled on longer than necessary because staff were still working from home due to the pandemic
‘There are people now trying to gain access to… implement fixes, but the people with physical access is separate from the people with knowledge of how to authenticate the systems and people who know what to actually do, so there is now a logistical challenge,’ the insider said.
Industry sources who have worked closely with the tech giant say Facebook is suffering from two major problems – staff working from home and over reliance on artificial intelligence.
The social media site has been beset by bugs, glitches and AI issues for months – exacerbated by staff not being on premises to deal with or correct issues.
One source said that Facebook is simply unprepared to deal with emergencies and ‘is very weak on the technical side’.
Another added that Facebook is currently ‘a shambles’ and has been beset with tech problems ‘for months’.
They added: ‘They think they can do everything with AI – but their tech isn’t up to scratch. I’m inclined to think it’s because they’re WFH.’
Facebook shares plunged as a result of the outage on Monday, losing a staggering $47billion off the company’s share price – its second-worst day ever on the stock market
Facebook’s commitment to flexible working appears to have cost the company astronomically in the last 24 hours.
Monday’s outage sent Facebook’s share price tumbling by a staggering $47billion, marking its second-worst day ever on the stock market.
This also comes as a major blow to Zuckerberg’s personal wealth, losing around $6 billion on his 15 percent stake.
Yet, the outage was just one problem to hit the embattled firm this week, coming just hours before a former employee turned whistleblower testified before Congress about Facebook’s dangers to young people and democracy.
Frances Haugen, who previously worked as a product manager in its misinformation department, told a Senate Commerce subcommittee Tuesday that Facebook’s bosses ‘put their astronomical profits before people.’
She said the outage was a positive thing because it left a period of time where the platform was not doing damage.
‘Yesterday we saw Facebook get taken off the internet. I don’t know why it went down, but I do know for more than five hours, Facebook wasn’t used to deepen divides, destabilize democracies and make young girls and women feel bad about their bodies,’ she said.
The outage came hours before ex-employee turned whistleblower Frances Haugen testified to Congress Tuesday (pictured) about Facebook’s dangers to young people and democracy
Haugen also told the hearing Zuckerberg is not held to account by anyone ‘but himself’ and so ‘the buck stops with’ him.
‘Mark holds a very unique role in the tech industry in that he holds over 55 percent of all the voting shares for Facebook. There are no similarly powerful companies that are as unilaterally controlled,’ she said.
‘There’s no one currently holding him accountable but himself.’
Haugen revealed her identity in a bombshell interview with CBS’s Scott Pelley on 60 Minutes on Sunday where she accused the network of contributing to the Capitol riot by turning online safeguards off too soon after the presidential election.
She has caused a major headache for Facebook in recent weeks after quitting the firm and taking with her a trove of tens of thousands of pages of internal company documents.
Some of these secrets were leaked to the Wall Street Journal for a series of reports dubbed the ‘Facebook Files’, including damning revelations the company knew its platform Instagram is toxic to young girls’ body image.