EU’s competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager says Facebook’s outage shows the social media giant needs to be broken up because ‘we must not rely on a few big players’
- Vestager tweeted Tuesday that consumers need ‘alternatives and choices’
- Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp went offline for seven hours Monday
- The blackout sparked renewed calls for big technology platforms to be broken up and have less of a monopoly in the tech space
- NY Rep. AOC also said the fallout shows Facebook’s ‘monopolistic mission’ has ‘incredibly destructive effects on free society and democracy’
The European Union’s competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager has said Facebook’s seven-hour outage shows the social media giant needs to be broken up because ‘we must not rely on a few big players’.
Vestager tweeted Tuesday that consumers need ‘alternatives and choices’ in the tech market, hours after Monday’s blackout left billions of people worldwide cut off from their usual lines of communication as they were unable to access Facebook, Instagram or WhatsApp.
‘#facebookdown tells 2 things : 1/ we need alternatives & choices in the #tech market, and must not rely on a few big players, whoever they are,’ she wrote, adding ‘that’s the aim of #DMA’ – a reference to the proposed EU law the Digital Markets Act.
Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp went offline for around seven hours Monday from around midday ET to around 7pm ET, marking the longest outage the company has endured in 13 years.
The blackout left millions of users without their regular means of communication, sparking renewed calls for big technology platforms to be broken up and have less of a monopoly in the tech space.
Facebook owns Instagram and WhatsApp meaning consumers don’t have great choice and competition in the marketplace.
The European Union’s competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager (pictured) has said Facebook’s seven-hour outage shows the social media giant needs to be broken up
Vestager tweeted Tuesday that consumers need ‘alternatives and choices’ in the tech market
Vestager, who is also the European Commission’s executive vice-president for a Europe fit for the digital age, pointed out the negative impact of big tech firms controlling large swathes of the online world.
She also added that the fallout shows it is sometimes good to step away from social media and talk to people ‘offline’.
‘Sometimes, there’s nothing better than talking to each other… just on the phone or… offline,’ she tweeted.
In December 2020, the European Commission introduced the DMA – new proposed legislation to better regulate competition in the tech space and make room for European companies to compete with the Silicon Valley giants like Facebook.
Vestager’s comments were echoed by New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who also seized on Facebook’s outage to renew her call for the ‘monopolistic’ and ‘destructive’ company to be broken up.
The Democratic congresswoman tweeted that 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.
Monday’s blackout left billions of people worldwide cut off from their usual lines of communication as they were unable to access Facebook, Instagram or WhatsApp. Pictured Mark Zuckerberg
Zuckerberg apologized about Monday’s outage in a Facebook post when service was restored
‘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.’
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
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.
The dominance of a handful of large social media and internet companies has come under scrutiny from competition watchdogs on a number of issues, with many campaigners in the UK, Europe and US urging governments and regulators to take steps to break up larger firms to prevent monopolies being created.
IT experts have also called on the tech industry to come up with better systems to prevent a single error from having such a wide impact.
Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg has since apologized for the ‘disruption’ caused by the outage.
Facebook blamed the outage on a ‘faulty configuration change’ within its network, which as well as impacting its social platforms, is said to have also taken the company’s own internal tools offline, leaving staff unable to access communications tools.
It said in a statement: ‘Our engineering teams have learned that configuration changes on the backbone routers that coordinate network traffic between our data centers caused issues that interrupted this communication.
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
‘This disruption to network traffic had a cascading effect on the way our data centers communicate, bringing our services to a halt.
‘We want to make clear at this time we believe the root cause of this outage was a faulty configuration change.
‘We also have no evidence that user data was compromised as a result of this downtime.’
The platform added it was working to understand more about the outage in order to ‘make our infrastructure more resilient’.
In an earlier statement posted to Twitter on Monday night, Facebook apologized for the outage and thanked its users around the world ‘for bearing with us’.
It said: ‘To the huge community of people and businesses around the world who depend on us: we’re sorry.
‘We’ve been working hard to restore access to our apps and services and are happy to report they are coming back online now. Thank you for bearing with us.’
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 share price plummeted amid the outage losing $100 million in revenue in hours.
The outage was only 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.
Source: Read Full Article