The collapse of Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram has caused ripples across the world, with users unable to communicate on the online platforms, leaving hundreds of millions stranded.
Already the outage is having a heavy toll on Nigerian businesses using the social media platforms for their transactions.
The platforms were down for tens of thousands of users yesterday, according to outage tracking website Downdetector.com.
The website was showing outages in heavily populated areas like Washington, DC, and Paris, with problems being reported from about 15:45 GMT.
“We’re aware that some people are having trouble accessing our apps and products,” Facebook said on Twitter. “We’re working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible, and we apologise for any inconvenience.”
A similar message confirming the outage also was posted on WhatsApp’s Twitter account.
Reacting to this development, Ade Atobatele of the Gboza Gboza Technology Limited lamented the situation, saying his company and many others are already counting losses.
“I have call centres that run on WhatsApp and Facebook messenger and those call centres are now down; that means any of my enterprise clients that are using remote -based call centres based on WhatsApp and Facebook messenger cannot reach their customers right now.
“We are losing thousands of dollars because the money is paid on a transaction basis; in other words, any time one of our people answers their customer service calls, we are paid. It is a real cost, not an imaginary cost in disposable income in Nigeria. We have about 5,000 transactions a day. Even if each transaction is $1, which is more than that, it means we are losing $5,000.
“It is a major problem but we cannot do anything about it now; we have to wait for them. We are just hoping that these utilities do not go down for too long. We are hoping that it can be restored.”
Also speaking as a digital and creative polymath, the founder, Creat.Ng, Lekan Dauda, said there is a plethora of opportunities, platforms and, more importantly, a stable and loyal community on Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp that inspires, motivates and mortifies his craft.
“My prayer right now is that these apps should be restored as soon as possible, because these apps are helping my business to grow, as a digital media person,” Dauda added.
According to him, in a generation where creativity, innovation and technology are the major drivers of the world’s developed economy, social media is what many youths in Nigeria rely on. Contemporaneously, in a country where many ply their daily trade on social media platforms, these social media platforms have become a source of livelihood to many Nigerian youths. “I plead with Facebook management to restore it as soon as possible,” he added.
Meanwhile, the president, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Engineer Ike Nnamani told LEADERSHIP that this is not the first time Facebook is experiencing this kind of technical issue.
“It has happened before, but the management of Facebook was able to fix it, before anybody noticed it, but this is taking longer, that is why people are noticing it. I can assure you that they are working on it ,” he added.
Nnamani clarified the fact that there is no shutdown of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, rather, it is a technical issue that Facebook is currently working on, while assuring Nigerians that it will be resolved as soon as possible.
“The management of Facebook is having a technical issue from their main office in California, hence the reason why their service is down in the affected countries. The service has been down for the last three hours, so it is a major outrage. This is beyond anybody’s control, as it is a technical problem,” he said.
The situation poses a challenge for Nigerians, especially startups that rely heavily on social media to sell their goods and services, the CEO, Precise Financial System Limited, Yele Okeremi, told LEADERSHIP.
Okeremi, however, urged Nigerians who rely on these platforms to develop business continuity plans because technical issues will always happen, as it may not be the last time.
“Nigerians must learn not to put their eggs in one basket. They should look for other channels to continue their business,” he added.
…Telegram To The Rescue
Meanwhile, a cross-platform, cloud-based instant messaging system, Telegram, has quickly replaced Facebook and its messaging platforms like WhatsApp and Messenger after they shut down across the world on Monday evening.
Like Facebook and its associated platforms, Telegram also provides end-to-end encrypted video calling, VoIP, file sharing and several other features.
The service was launched for iOS on August 14, 2013 and Android in October 2013.
LEADERSHIP earlier reported that Facebook users are experiencing outages across the world, including all social networks the company owns, which include Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp.
When navigating to these websites, a server error will appear — Instagram shows a “5xx server error,” which indicates that this is an issue with Facebook’s servers.
Users are 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, are down.
It appears that the outage is caused by a DNS (domain name server) failure — this is, the naming structure that forms the web’s infrastructure.
The trillion dollar company, which boasts 2.9 billion monthly active users, has remained down for at least two hours and counting. At the same time, Facebook stock has gone down about 5.5%. This follows a recent downward trend for the stock as Facebook faces scrutiny in the U.S. Senate after whistleblower, Frances Haugen, leaked internal documents to the Wall Street Journal.
Facebook Owner Loses $7bn
Facebook Owner, Mark Zuckerberg’s personal wealth has fallen by nearly $7 billion in a few hours, knocking him down a notch on the list of the world’s richest people, after a whistleblower came forward and outages took Facebook Inc.’s flagship products offline.
This is just as Facebook’s co-messaging apps, WhatsApp and Instagaram remained down after four hours of global outage which has upset businesses and disconnected billions of people around the world.
According to Bloomberg, a selloff sent the social-media giant’s stock plummeting around 5% on Monday, adding to a drop of about 15 per cent since mid-September.
The stock slide on Monday sent Zuckerberg’s worth down to $120.9 billion, dropping him below Bill Gates to No. 5 on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. He’s lost about $19 billion of wealth since September 13, when he was worth nearly $140 billion, according to the index.
On September 13, the Wall Street Journal began publishing a series of stories based on 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’ mental health and misinformation about the Jan. 6 Capitol riots — while downplaying the issues in public. The reports have drawn the attention of government officials, and on Monday, the whistleblower revealed herself.
In response, Facebook has emphasised that the issues facing its products, including political polarisation, are complex and not caused by technology alone.
“I think it gives people comfort to assume that there must be a technological or a technical explanation for the issues of political polarization in the United States,” Nick Clegg, Facebook’s vice president of global affairs, told CNN.