A double crisis in "Facebook" caused by the malfunction and leakage of internal documents

"Facebook" and its "Instagram", "WhatsApp" and "Messenger" applications returned to work, on Tuesday, after an unprecedented outage that plunged the group into a problem that added to the crisis of leaking internal documents condemning the group and a former employee was behind it.

The website "DownDetector", which specializes in monitoring outages in digital services, stated that the outage that hit "Facebook" and its applications was "the biggest outage we have seen so far. It affected billions of users."

"People and businesses around the world are counting on us to keep in touch with each other," Facebook, the world's largest social network, tweeted Monday night Tuesday after a seven-hour outage. And whose number, according to experts in the field of cyber security, is likely to be billions.

The malfunction occurred at a disadvantage for Facebook as it went through one of its worst reputation crises.

This crisis is due to the engineer, the former employee of the group, Frances Hogan, who accused the social network of choosing “material profit over the safety” of its users in an interview broadcast by CBS the day before yesterday, Sunday.

The information it revealed gave new ammunition to critics of "Facebook", which uses its four platforms a month, about 3.5 billion people.

US President Joe Biden said that the disclosure of information showed that the company "does not know how to restrain itself", according to his spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, on Monday. And she stressed that this information "confirms the fears (..) about the power amassed by the giant networks."

The leaker appears before a US congressional committee on Tuesday.

And Facebook explained in a statement that the widespread outage was caused by a "wrong change in the settings of the servers" that connect through the Internet these platforms to their users.

She added that the technical failure caused "a series of problems that affected many tools and systems that we use internally on a daily basis, hampering our efforts to diagnose and solve the problem."

Facebook's competitors took advantage of the outage. The Telegram application moved from the 56th most downloaded free application in the United States to the 5th place within a day, according to the specialized company Sensor Tower.

The Signal messaging app also wrote that "Signal registrations have skyrocketed."

The Twitter service witnessed sarcastic tweets, while others complained that they had cut off their acquaintances, or that their source of livelihood or work tool had ceased.

"Overall, I think the world would be better off if everyone didn't know what other people were doing around the clock," Cindy Bennett, who owns a bakery in New York, told AFP.

The incident bolsters the position of critics of the California-based company as it demonstrates its extensive influence over daily life.

And one of the founders of "British Quest", on cyber security, Jake Williams, stressed that the impact of the incident is worse in many countries where "Facebook is "identifying with the Internet" or for users who resort to the social network to access other services.

The authorities already have many excuses to crack down on Facebook, especially after the leak of internal documents by Francis Hogan that allowed the Wall Street Journal in mid-September to publish a series of articles on the harmful impact of Facebook and Instagram on society. .

Notable among these documents is one detailing the psychological problems of many adolescent girls. The research showed, in particular, that 32% of teenage girls felt that using "Instagram" gave them a more negative image of their body, while they were not originally satisfied with it. The engineer, formerly working at Facebook, confirmed that this social network is well aware of this deviation.

The focus of the hearing in the US Parliament, Tuesday, on this issue.

In excerpts from her introductory remarks that were broadcast by US media on Twitter, Hogan will urge parliamentarians to put controls on Facebook, something many of them regularly promise.

"When we realized that tobacco producers were covering up the damage they were doing, the government took action. When we realized that cars are safer with seat belts, the government acted. Please do the same" about Facebook, she predicts.

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