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I hope that Facebook does not recover: The world would be a better place if a competitor emerges



… someone should build an honest competitor


What a joy! A day without Facebook.


Yes, I have an account, and yes, I used it to link to my blogs.

However, overall, I believe that Facebook is a menace to society — and I did not watch the CBS 60 Minutes segment last night with a FB whistleblower.


The truth is that Facebook has been damaging to American society on many levels. They have allowed a group to hijack a presidential election, they have allowed anti-vaxxers and others to post all kinds of misinformation on it. They have allowed all kinds of terrorists from within America to attack the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to destroy democracy.


And that is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.


Just nine months later


To say that Facebook was alone responsible for many of these situations may appear to be simplistic.


Perhaps.

However, what happened today could be a good thing. Here is the situation at about four hours past the joyful hour,


Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp have been down for more than three hours as of mid-day Monday. All three platforms stopped working shortly before noon ET. The platform currently boasts 3 billion users.


The websites and apps for all of the services were responding with server errors. Reports on DownDetector.com showed the outages appear to be widespread, but it’s unclear if it impacts all users or just some locations. It’s not currently known what’s causing the outage.


It marks the worst outage for the technology giant since 2008, when a bug knocked Facebook offline for about a day, affecting about 80 million users. The platform currently boasts 3 billion users and the outage is already into its third hour.


In 2019, a similar outage lasted about an hour. Facebook blamed a server configuration change for that outage.


Samantha Subin, “Facebook is facing its worst outage since

2008,” CNBC, October 4, 2021


Whistleblower explained the problems


The whistleblower who blew the lid off FB and was in part responsible for its drop on the stock exchange showed what could happen with the spread of disinformation,


The outage comes one day after the whistleblower who leaked private internal research to both The Wall Street Journal and U.S. Congress revealed herself ahead of an interview with “60 Minutes.”


The documents, first reported in a series of Journal stories, revealed that the company’s executives understood the negative impacts of Instagram among younger users and that Facebook’s algorithm enabled the spread of misinformation, among other things.


Samantha Subin, CNBC, October 4, 2021

According to the report, Facebook shares were down five percent.

Fuels conspiracy theories


In addition to allowing Russia to spread hateful propaganda in the 2016 election, it has done a tremendous amount of damage. They are not a positive factor in a democracy because they have a right-wing slant,


Here in the United States, Facebook has been the chief vector for QAnon, a byzantine conspiracy theory in which President Trump struggles against a global cabal of Satan-worshipping, life-force sucking pedophiles and their enablers. QAnon supporters believe Trump will eventually go public in an operation that ends with the arrest, internment and execution of that cabal, which conveniently includes many of his Democratic political opponents.


Facebook, according to the company’s own investigation, is home to thousands of QAnon groups and pages with millions of members and followers. Its recommendation algorithms push users to engage with QAnon content, spreading the conspiracy to people who may never have encountered it otherwise. Similarly, a report from the German Marshall Fund pegs the recent spate of fire conspiracies — false claims of arson in Oregon by antifa or Black Lives Matter — to the uncontrolled spread of rumors and disinformation on Facebook.


Zuckerberg clearly wants the public to see him and his company as partners in the defense of democracy. Earlier this month, he announced steps to limit election-related misinformation and stop voter suppression and to support efforts to help Americans register and cast a ballot. “I believe our democracy is strong enough to withstand this challenge and deliver a free and fair election — even if it takes time for every vote to be counted,” Zuckerberg wrote. “We’ve voted during global pandemics before. We can do this.”


He is right that our democracy can survive a pandemic. It is unclear, however, if it can survive a platform optimized for conspiratorial thinking. Like industrial-age steel companies dumping poisonous waste into waterways, Facebook pumps paranoia and disinformation into the body politic, the toxic byproduct of its relentless drive for profit. We eventually cleaned up the waste. It’s an open question whether we can clean up after Facebook.


Jamelle Boule, “Facebook has been a disaster for the

world,” New York Times, September 18, 2020


That story was written before the January 6th terrorist attack on the U.S. Capitol and the attempts to hijack the legitimate results of the 2020 election.


It is time for the government to take a look at the illegal activities of this “democratic” institution.


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