What happened on Monday, October 4, when, suddenly, millions of people around the world were isolated after the report of “defects” in the servers of Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram, seems to be the minor damage for the trilogy of giants that dominates the monopoly of communication in social networks.
The more than six hours in which the Internet community fell into despair in the face of eternal waiting are part of the framework of the crisis that the businessman and founder of Facebook, the American Mark Zuckerberg, is going through.
It has lost 5.9 billion dollars after the event. However, the chapter is not the strongest headache for the programmer, who finds himself in the “eye of the hurricane”, amid complaints that point out that these platforms have great potential to worsen eating disorders or suicidal thoughts of adolescents, affect the democracy and national security of the countries, and are related to the “violence in Ethiopia” and the espionage of China and Iran. All this, in accordance with strong revelations made by Frances Haugen, the former Facebook employee who dared to go against the corporate monster and make statements in the Senate.
Haugen is the 37-year-old IT expert who served as a product manager at the largest social network on the planet and who broke the silence last Tuesday when she declared that there would be “bad practices” that tend to “constantly mislead” customers. Netizens about the harmful effects of their platforms.
This is the biggest scandal in the history of the most used platform. It even surpassed the magnitude of the 2018 problem. So there was a stir over the Cambridge Analytica case, when Facebook shares plummeted 7% after a post noted that a string of investigative studies suggested that The Cambridge Analytica consultancy was left, irregularly, with data from 50 million people who use the social network only in the United States, as the BBC well remembers.
Cambridge Analytica is a London company that analyzes personal data to later create campaigns that can advocate in favor of politicians.
“In just 24 hours, the value of Facebook fell 37,000 million dollars due to a scandal that began with an apparently innocent personality test on the social network and led to accusations of data theft, political interference and blackmail with prostitutes,” he describes BBC.
This information would have been used to “psychologically” influence voters for the 2016 elections, the year in which Donald Trump was elected. Zuckerberg admitted that there were “errors” and warned of actions to strengthen the security and privacy system.
STRONG COMPLAINTS Haugen’s revelations make this scandal exceed that of 2018, as it points to the image of Facebook and Instagram. The whistleblower told the Senate Consumer Protection subcommittee that there would be links between Facebook activity and the deaths in Ethiopia and Myanmar, as well as spying from China and Iran.
“My fear is that if it is not acted upon, the divisive and extremist behaviors we see today are just the beginning. What we saw in Myanmar and now in Ethiopia are the first chapters of a story so terrifying that nobody wants to read the end, “recalls CNN on Haugen’s sayings.
On espionage, he said that he was part of Facebook’s counterespionage team and that he “worked on monitoring Chinese participation in the platform, monitoring Uighur populations around the world.”
CNN cites that the group that Haugen was then part of warned “the active participation of the Iranian government in spying on other state actors.”
The company downplayed the former employee’s statements, arguing that she was only inside for two years, that she did not have access to direct reports and that she was not related to the decision-making of the executives.
INVESTIGATION Democrats and Republicans in the Upper House, who rarely agree with common ideas, agreed to request the opening of an investigation by US regulators against Zuckerberg’s company.
For her part, Senator Elizabeth Warren lashed out at Facebook and indicated that it tampers with the democratic system. “The loudest voice in this room is Facebook and the other giant corporations. They hire the lobbyists, they make the big campaign contributions. And most importantly, they fund dark money, the part where you don’t even see their fingerprints, “he said.
WILL REMAIN STRONG Experts in social networks consider that, despite the magnitude of the problem these days, this will not affect, in the medium or long term, the continuity of use by users. “It is not the first time that Facebook has suffered problems. The things that ‘deep throat’ (by Haugen) is commenting on, for the most part, are not unknown problems ”, concludes the lawyer specialized in digital issues Borja Adsuara, in an interview with ABC.
Those who are burying Facebook must remember what happened with Cambridge Analytica. So people promoted a boycott and started talking about leaving Facebook. Since then the company has not stopped growing in users and in valuation on the stock market ”.
Ferrán Lalueza, another expert in networks consulted by ABC, also considers that these revelations will not take much of a toll on the giant. “I would like to think that there will be an impact, but the history indicates that it will not. In the past, the company has survived misuse of user privacy; a misuse that has been able to have effects at the highest level, such as in the correct development of electoral processes ”.