• Elise van Lonkhuijzen

Hashtag doomsday

The ultimate doomsday scenario is a topic that has been discussed in countless movies, endless books and many debates. Some say it will be a massive flood, others think a massive meteor will hit earth once more, a third option would be an uncontrollable virus (sounds familiar?), but I think Monday we got a taste from the real deal… Suddenly, four out of the five most popular social media platforms did not work anymore.

What happened?

According to official statements Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and Whatsapp stopped working around 17.45 on the 4th of October 2021. No one was able to refresh their pages, send and receive messages or post anything on the platforms. The shutdown lasted about 6 hours and hit 2.5 billion people all over the globe. So far, the exact reason for the shutdown is not known yet. According to Facebook it was a human mistake that had to do with the configuration of the servers. Both the internal and the external systems were down, making it impossible for employees to enter certain buildings and resolve the issue. Eventually the platforms did not operate fully until 23.15. This might not sound like a big deal to some; however, the impact was bigger than it might seem.

The impact

Besides billions of users being ‘offline’, the crash had several other impacts. The first, and one of the most talked about ones, was the huge drop of value in Facebook’s stock. The shares’ values dropped by 2.06%. Next to that, the net worth of Mr. Zuckerberg dropped with a staggering 7 Billion dollars to only 120.9 billion dollars, leaving the poor man at the 5th place of wealthiest people alive.

However, the investors holding the shares were not the only ones who felt like their business was hit by the crash. Countless people who hold the title of influencer could not post anything for hours nor tell the world what they had for breakfast. Some companies, who use social media to reach their customers, such as (delivery) restaurants, actually reported loss of income during the time the socials were down.

A final group that realized their dependency on social media, were all the other users. Being forcibly offline for a bit made most of us realize how much time we spend online and how often we aimlessly scroll through Instagram and Facebook. As a result, many people were forced to spend their time doing different things. Talking to people in real life, reading a book instead of Facebook posts or even binge-watch Netflix shows instead of binge-watching Instagram videos.

Perhaps we got a taste of a true doomsday, a world without social media. Or perhaps it was a one-time thing that made us realize that talking to others is actually fun. Whatever the outcome is, the next time Facebook is down, I still know a good blog for you to read…