New outage for Facebook, Messenger and Instagram; but what is happening at Meta?

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 New outage for Facebook, Messenger and Instagram;  but what is happening at Meta?

Access to the company’s online platforms was very disrupted on the evening of Wednesday, November 3. Facebook and Instagram were barely usable for a few hours, as was Facebook Messenger instant messaging.

The outage was observed from 7 p.m. French time, according to Downdetector, which collects reports of problems on web services.

Several similar outages have affected the company in recent months. On October 4, Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp were affected by a major global outage lasting several hours. Company executives had cited human error that had taken Facebook’s servers offline.

Facebook and Instagram platforms, WhatsApp and Messenger messengers and Oculus virtual reality headsets are now owned by Meta. Meta is the new name of the Californian group which now dreams of being the conductor of a parallel world, says the metaverse, where everything is possible.

While few concrete details have leaked out about the move, the announcement at the very least allows Facebook to divert public attention away from daily social media scandals.

Failures and controversies

Last week, Frances Haugen, a resigned Facebook whistleblower, warned against social media platforms that use opaque algorithms to spread harmful content. According to her, these algorithms could trigger an increasing number of violent events, such as the attacks on the US Capitol that occurred last January.

The whistleblower spoke in particular in London as part of an investigation into the online security bill presented by the British government earlier this year. This bill proposes to force companies to protect their users from harmful content ranging from revenge porn to misinformation and hate speech.

British parliamentarians took her testimony because it was recently revealed that she was the whistleblower behind the leak of internal Facebook documents that had the effect of a bombshell.

Now known as the “Facebook Files”, the leaks were published by the wall street journal and explore a variety of topics, including the use of different content moderation policies for high-profile users, the spread of misinformation, and Instagram’s impact on teen mental health. These disclosures became the catalyst for a US Senate investigation into Facebook’s activities.

These revelations also resulted in the establishment of a press campaign orchestrated by Facebook to improve its image.

Facebook chooses the government of Nicaragua as an expiatory victim

Facebook said on Monday that it had dismantled troll networks linked to governments in Ethiopia, Uganda, Sudan, Thailand and Azerbaijan. But the most spectacular announcement concerns the decommissioning of a “troll farm” by the Nicaraguan government. Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega is in the running for a fourth consecutive term in elections next Sunday.

Facebook said last October that it had deleted 937 Facebook accounts, 363 Instagram accounts, 140 pages and 24 groups linked to this campaign. All accounts, pages and groups were allegedly linked to people in Nicaragua.

Facebook referred to “one of the most inter-governmental troll operations we have disrupted to date”, stating that several state entities were involved.

“This operation was aimed at domestic audiences in this country, and was linked to the government of Nicaragua and the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) party. We uncovered part of this network as part of our internal investigation into alleged coordinated inauthentic behavior in the region, and another part – following the review of public reports of some of these activities.

Facebook did not respond to questions about why this specific campaign was identified and highlighted, given numerous similar campaigns by government actors in dozens of countries.

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