Thursday July 18, 2019
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Facebook Down Again? Chill as The World Has Not Ended Yet

Joining the outages, Twitter’s dashboard TweetDeck went down on July 2 in Europe and the US before it was restored later

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FILE - The Facebook logo is seen on a shop window in Malaga, Spain, June 4, 2018. (VOA)

By Radhika Parashar

Imagine this: All of your favourite social media apps such as Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Snapchat and Twitter have stopped working for an unspecified time period. Are you anxious, nervous or still a relaxed soul?

This year has seen several incidences where everyday apps faced major outages running into several hours in India. To the respite of users, they had Twitter to fall back upon as it was the only app functioning most of the time.

“Outages make us realise how much do we actually depend on Internet and apps. People even have apps that remind them it is time to drink water. And if these apps stop working, one can imagine the plight. Social media outages make me uncomfortable and restless,” Deepansh Jain, a 21-year-old college student from Mumbai, told IANS.

Managing a global user-base of over 2.38 billion people, Facebook and its family of apps, including photo-messaging app Instagram and WhatsApp, have collectively suffered five major outages in the last four months. Out of all the Facebook’s apps, Instagram experiences downtime the most.

On March 14, Facebook apps recorded their longest ever 12-hour outage. While people speculated possibilities of cyber attacks, the social networking giant denied the speculation and blamed “server reconfiguration” for its app blackout.

Following Facebook, in the last four months, Google services like Gmail, Maps and Calendar also broke down three times for users worldwide.

On June 3, Google apps such as YouTube, Gmail and Nest along with Snapchat and other web services stopped working for users in the US and Europe for four hours. As the company promised to probe the issue, a service disruption caused a three-hour long Google Calendar outage globally.

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Facebook, Messenger and Instagram apps are displayed on an iPhone, March 13, 2019, in New York. VOA

“App outages are scary. Personally, I instantly start fearing worst-case scenarios like if my account has been hacked. I just go blank,” said Sheena Sharma, 25, from Bengaluru.

Not just social networking apps, other Internet-backed services like voice assistants are also vulnerable to outages. On May 16, Amazon’s voice assistant Alexa suffered outage in the US for undisclosed reasons.

Throughout the outage period, when users asked Alexa for assistance, it replied: “Sorry. I’m having trouble. Please try in a little while”.

Also Read- Researchers Develop an Algorithm to Predict Storms, Cyclones

Joining the outages, Twitter’s dashboard TweetDeck went down on July 2 in Europe and the US before it was restored later.

The outage report said there were “issues at TweetDeck”, with nearly 400 complaints just within 20 minutes. Down Detector said there were “problems at Twitter”.

“While all apps have faced outages, Twitter still holds the forte and brings people from across the world to vent out their frustration on its platform. As soon as any of the apps stop working, I immediately check Twitter if it is just me or an actual blackout has happened,” said Aayushi Aglawe, a 23-year-old media intern from Pune. (IANS)

Next Story

US Lawmakers Call Facebook’s Digital Coin Libra as ‘Delusional’

Under Facebook subsidiary Calibra, the social networking giant has planned to introduce a digital wallet for Libra. The wallet will be available on Messenger, WhatsApp and as a standalone app and is expected to be launched in 2020

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Bitcoin, which has risen in value for eight consecutive days, received a boost after Facebook has said it would offer its own cryptocurrency, the Libra coin by end of June 2020. Pixabay

The US lawmakers attacked Facebook’s upcoming digital cryptocurrency Libra at a Senate hearing here, calling it “delusional” and “dangerous” and directing the social networking giant to clean up its house first before launching a new business model.

David Marcus, Head of Facebook subsidiary Calibra, was grilled at the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday, reports Tech Crunch.

Democrat Senator Sherrod Brown who began the hearing blasted Facebook, saying it was “delusional” to think people would trust it with their hard-earned money.

“We’d be crazy to give them a chance to let them experiment with people’s bank accounts,” said Brown, adding that “like a toddler who has gotten his hands on a book of matches, Facebook has burned down the house over and over and called every arson a learning experience.

Republican Senator Martha McSally echoed his views: “Instead of cleaning up your house, you are launching a new business model.”

Marcus said Facebook “will only build its own Calibra cryptocurrency wallet into Messenger and WhatsApp”.

Marcus told lawmakers that Libra – controlled by a non-profit called the Libra Association — will comply with all US regulations and unless all concerns are answered, would not be launched.

Earlier on Monday, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he was “uncomfortable” with Libra. US Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell has also raised “serious concern” over Libra.

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FILE – Representations of virtual currency are displayed in front of the Libra logo in this illustration picture. VOA

Marcus, in a prepared testimony, said the Libra Association would be regulated by the Swiss government because that’s where it’s headquartered.

“The Libra Association expects that it will be licensed, regulated, and subject to supervisory oversight. Because the Association is headquartered in Geneva, it will be supervised by the Swiss Financial Markets Supervisory Authority (FINMA),” Marcus wrote.

US President Donald Trump last week tweeted that he is not a fan of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, which are not money, and whose value is highly volatile and based on thin air.

“Unregulated Crypto Assets can facilitate unlawful behaviour, including drug trade and other illegal activity,” Trump said.

Also Read: New Twitter Desktop Look Left Users Baffled

“Similarly, Facebook Libra’s avirtual currency’ will have little standing or dependability. If Facebook and other companies want to become a bank, they must seek a new Banking Charter and become subject to all Banking Regulations, just like other Banks, both National and International.

“We have only one real currency in the USA, and it is stronger than evera It is called the United States Dollar!” he further tweeted.

Facebook has said it is not going to launch its digital coin Libra unless regulators are fully satisfied and all necessary approvals are in place.

Under Facebook subsidiary Calibra, the social networking giant has planned to introduce a digital wallet for Libra. The wallet will be available on Messenger, WhatsApp and as a standalone app and is expected to be launched in 2020. (IANS)