Do these count as conspiracy theories?
Ah — another day, another widespread social media crash on the internet. Could the Twitter trolls ask for better meme fodder? On Oct. 4, Facebook and associated platforms like Instagram and WhatsApp went down for around five hours, and people all over the web are throwing out some wild (and funny) conspiracy theories about why. But like, are they really conspiracy theories? These memes about why Facebook and Instagram went down have me suspicious, and they just might make you question everything about the apps you use on the daily.
According to Facebook, the outage was caused by “a networking issue” that disrupted communications between their data centers. Apparently, because their servers were unable to properly communicate, the issue caused a domino effect that wreaked havoc across their systems. “To everyone who was affected by the outages on our platforms today: we’re sorry,” wrote a Facebook spokesperson in an Oct. 4 statement to Elite Daily. “We know billions of people and businesses around the world depend on our products and services to stay connected. We appreciate your patience as we come back online.” However, it’s still unclear where the “networking issue” originated.
Meanwhile, people couldn’t help but point out that the outage came the day after Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen went on 60 Minutes to accuse the social media platform of putting profits over user safety, among other claims. And the day after the outage, on Oct. 5, she testified to Congress on the same issue. In an Oct. 5 statement to CNBC and other outlets, a Facebook spokesperson said the company “[didn’t] agree with her characterization of the many issues she testified about. Despite all this, we agree on one thing; it’s time to begin to create standard rules for the internet.” Haugen, a former Facebook product manager who worked on civic integrity issues at the company, revealed thousands of pages of internal research and documents detailing the company’s awareness of problems caused by its apps — including the spread of misinformation leading up to the Jan. 6 Capitol riots, as well as the “toxic” effects Instagram had on the mental health of teen girls.
“I believe what I did was right and necessary for the common good — but I know Facebook has infinite resources, which it could use to destroy me,” Haugen stated during her congressional hearing. “I came forward because I recognized a frightening truth: almost no one outside of Facebook knows what happens inside Facebook,” she later added.
Given the *gestures to entire situation*, everyone flocked to Twitter to complain, and to hatch some pretty wild conspiracy theories. While some users are saying the crash was just due to regular old technical difficulties, others are saying the site went down so Facebook officials could scrub incriminating info from their databases before facing official inquiries. I know, absolutely bonkers, right?
But as an avid Twitter lurker myself, I think it’s safe to say we all know the real reason why Facebook went down.
While it’s unclear whether anyone will know for sure what happens inside Facebook, or if the site will ever face any accountability, one thing is certain: Twitter will continue to hit the nail on the head with these priceless memes.