The global outage of Facebook, Whatsapp and Instagram on Monday may have been a nuisance for users of the platforms in the US, but it has turned life upside down in parts of the rest of the world, where apps are indispensable for retail and healthcare have become and the basic functioning of government.
In India, doctors sounded the alarm because they couldn’t coordinate their schedules or share patient scans without WhatsApp. And in Malaysia, some small business owners have had no way of managing day-to-day operations like all business communications that go through the app.
Richard James Mendoza, a freelance photo and video editor in Quezon City, northeast of the Philippine capital Manila, said the outage left “everything in ruins”.
Mendoza, 28, said he relied heavily on Facebook for information on the country’s charged presidential campaign and Covid-19 updates from the government. His feed came to a standstill on Monday.
He was also unable to reach his colleagues, friends and family for hours on Facebook Messenger.
“Until one of my friends sent a message in our group chat hours later,” he said. “You yourself had no idea why Facebook was down.”
Government agencies, businesses and schools in the Philippines use Facebook’s infrastructure as a central hub for almost all information sharing, Mendoza said.
“In many developing countries, services like WhatsApp, Facebook and Facebook Messenger are deeply integrated into the delivery of primary health care, education and other government services,” said Marcus Leaning, professor of digital media education at the University of Winchester in the UK. “In the global north we tend to use such services as a complement to other communication channels, so that the global outage will have a disproportionate impact.”
More than 2 billion people in over 180 countries use WhatsApp, while Facebook has more than 3 billion users worldwide, according to WhatsApp and Facebook. A R.latest Global Web Index report on worldwide social media usageshowed that in countries like Kenya, Argentina, Malaysia, Colombia and Brazil, more than 90 percent of 16- to 54-year-olds used WhatsApp.
The countries that rely heavily on these services are hit much harder by such outages and have far longer lasting consequences, Leaning added.
WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Instagram have become indispensable alternatives to SMS and phone calls worldwide because they are cheaper.
A Twitter user in Malaysia called her mother and brother got up in a panic at 4 a.m. because they use WhatsApp for most of their business communications.
Doctors in India, where more than 500 million people use WhatsApp, warned Monday that the outage is affecting their ability to do their jobs. A doctor in Rajarhat tweeted that everything from coordinating schedules to posting station updates on WhatsApp is happening.
Another doctor in Mumbai called His operations department’s communication about a sick patient collapsed without WhatsApp because a scan result could not be shared and the doctors had to resort to phone calls instead.
As Facebook and WhatsApp users in Latin America and their families in the US also signaled how devastating the outage was for them, MP Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, DN.Y., said react to a tweet about the effects of the failure on the region, Facebook blamed the “monopoly behavior” for it.
If Facebook had been checked when it should have been Ocasio-Cortez added, “The continents of people who rely on WhatsApp and Instagram for communication or trade would be fine now.”
Facebook he apologized On Monday it was said “a huge community of people and companies around the world who depend on us”. It later blamed the failure on incorrect configuration changes to its routers.
The unprecedented outage came as Facebook faced a growing barrage of problems, including malicious disclosures by a former employee who accused the company of “making a profit on public safety.”