Yesterday’s Facebook outage – which also saw Facebook owned WhatsApp and Instagram come screeching to a halt – demonstrated the global significance of tech reliance. Indeed, whereas many celebrated the short fall of social media (outside of Twitter, which had some fun at the expense of Facebook), it proved that many are more reliant on the Mark Zuckerberg founded website than they would care to admit.
Facebook Outage Demonstrated Significance of Tech Reliance
Per Tech Times, Mark Zuckerberg took a major $6 billion loss during yesterday’s outage – such is his own reliance on the website. Whereas a $6 billion loss would never cause Zuckerberg (still worth $116.8 billion after the loss) to lose sleep, it is still a significant impact which shows just how valuable the site is. If it can lose that much money in just a short outage (which felt much longer) spanning a meager 6 hours, imagine the damage that could be done if it went down for a week. Zuckerberg’s fortune would dwindle; a new social media website would likely creep in to take Facebook’s place and, in Facebook’s absence, hundreds of millions of Facebook users would be lost. Or would they?
During Facebook’s outage, millions took to Twitter to share what’s on their mind. Whereas some were saddened by Facebook’s absence – with some suggesting it might not even return – the general consensus, at least to us, appeared to be overwhelmingly positive. Many cited how great of a thing it would be if Facebook never came back; with many arguing it would do wonders for the globe’s mental health, which is often recognized as being depleted by our reliance on websites like Facebook and especially Facebook. Some made jokes, such as “how will my aunt get to make her racist Facebook posts now?”, a reference to the endemic of racism, which social media is increasingly and depressingly rife with. Within Facebook, there is the added toxicity of internet trolls; who will mercilessly attack you from behind their keyboard, without a moment’s consideration to the consequences of their actions. These are the kind of things we would never miss about social media, should it disappear forever.
There was a downside to the outage, however. Whereas social media brings plenty of baggage – such as the endemic of racism, bullying, the depletion of mental health, etc – it does possess one overwhelming positive: the ability to make friendships online. Almost all of us have made friends this way; long-lasting friendships with people who have become as important to us as our friends in the “real world”. Without social media, the possibility of contacting these friends as we currently do becomes far more difficult – especially since, apparently (and we are talking from personal experience here), we do not even have their phone numbers; such is our dependence on Facebook Messenger and its brilliance. Who needs phone numbers when our friends are accessible in the click of an app?
Overall, with reflecting on yesterday’s outage, it was mostly a positive thing. Should social media ever disappear for good, we would all be far more productive; we would be living in the real world, without the outside interference of the toxic environment many have adapted to in the digital – a world where unknown people will mercilessly attack you without a moment’s thought to the consequences of their actions. On the counter-side, there is the argument that – without social media – we are so much more cut off from the rest of the world and are culturally weaker as a result.
Would you rather a world without social media, or one with? One thing is certain: we are heavily reliant on it and it needs reforming to something far less toxic. The Facebook outage signaled our tech reliance and brought many arguments with it.
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