As Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram were shut down, Monday, the global economy took a hit.
NetBlocks, which tracks internet outages and their impact, claims that for each hour that the networks were off, the global economy lost about $160m.
Facebook lost about 5.5% in stock value, with Mark Zuckerberg losing nearly $7bn.
Zuckerberg’s worth went down to $121.6 billion, dropping him below Bill Gates to No. 5 on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. He’s down from almost $140 billion in a matter of weeks, according to the index.
There are 2.9 billion monthly-active-users on Facebook and its affiliates.
As the shutdown persisted, users were also unable to send messages or load new content on the mobile apps for these platforms. Even Oculus, Facebook’s virtual reality platform, and Workplace, its business communication tool, were down.
Tech experts believe that the shutdown was a symptom of a bigger challenge. They suggest that the system could not have broken down spontaneously, and it was likely that something had happened to the underlying infrastructure – a stray settings change, a physical outage at a server, or something else entirely – that has stopped it from working.
Facebook’s stocks have gradually been sliding since September, with a cache of internal documents revealing that Facebook knew about a wide range of problems with its products – such as Instagram’s harm to teenage girls’ body image perceptions and their mental health, and misinformation about the Jan. 6 Capitol riots – while downplaying the issues in public.
Facebook has, however, emphasized that the issues facing its products, including political polarization, are complex and not caused by technology alone.
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