Enjoy this gallery of memes celebrating Facebook and Instagram outages

Surely there was staff already in the building that could open the door or an emergency exit. The place runs 24/7.

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Surely there was. I just found the NYT correction amusing

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you get some toxicity in any mass of humans. The Facebook question is whether a monopolistic channel of communication has a perverse incentive and managerial inclination toward enhancing and magnifying the level of toxicity for their own profit. Treating Facebook as an impartial commons misses the mark here.

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Meme Reaction GIF by Robert E Blackmon

Right? They are absolutely not an “impartial commons”, because they are a for-profit company with an agenda to maximize their profits.

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Well, that’s certainly a take.

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Or they were more direct.

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They’ll find out the hard way that “internet sovereignty” isn’t the answer when Vkontake has a six hour outage.

Every business has points of failure, frequently with communication providers.

You said you ran a business. If you had a website, how many hosting providers did you have redundancy over? How many different email providers did you use, and how did you coordinate which addresses customers were to use? If you placed advertising, and found a means that worked, how much did you invest in ones that didn’t, just in case that newspaper or agency went under? How many phone numbers did you have, and spread across how many providers?

I wonder how many single points of failure there were in your business, how many of them you’d have bleated about having a failure, but think the situation was different purely because those weren’t owned by Facebook.

As to “colouring you surprised” that someone running a food delivery service in Delhi doesn’t have business interruption insurance, I’m glad that you’ve done the research to find out if he’s covered or not, I wasn’t sure. It’s good that you’ve got this knowledge of both British and global business interruption insurance. You’ll be able to help explain it to me. We’re talking about an advertising platform, and a communications and payments platform being down for five hours. Which policy should these companies have had, that would cover this?

Other people seem quite capable to point to this as an issue of dominance by Facebook and the fragmentation of communication, without condescending takes about the people caught up deserving it.

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Well, you’ve convinced me.

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image

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That one won the day yesterday IMO. There was also a variant I saw that said they were all now “trapped in Sword Art Online”.

For those unfamiliar with it, Sword Art Online is an “isekai” anime, where real-world people end up physically stuck inside the world of a fictional MMO of the same name through [technobabble mumbo jumbo].

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It’s a good one… nice reference on the variants…

It also reminds me of the VR episode of Community…

community-dean-vr-anything

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Nah, we’re blaming it on FB for amplifying, multiplying, and monetizing the worst of humanity. Selectively.

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Was thinking about this, and I’d suggest a tweak. The communications protocol should be regulated as a utility, rather than the platform.

Reason I say this is the “just use Viber or LINE instead” type of argument. Say that people switched en masse to one of them, building up the same network effect advantage that WhatsApp currently has.

Rather than a Facebook owned platform functioning as a utility, we’ve now got a Rakuten or SoftBank owned platform functioning as a utility.

Needs an interchangeable standard agreed on, similar to SMTP and the like with email. Doesn’t matter if I email from a GMail account to a Hotmail account, or to someone using a corporate account, the mail’s delivered. Same thing’s needed for instant messaging, make it so that it doesn’t matter if you’re messaging from a WhatsApp account to a LINE account, or a corporate account, the message should get through.

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But they’re all utilities.

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There is one, actually. In true open-source community fashion it has the delightfully easy-to-remember-and-say name of “XMPP”, because apparently “Jabber” (its old name) wasn’t technical enough.

The problem is, for reasons I outlined elsewhere, no one wants to use it precisely because it would allow people to communicate without being part of their own platform, and venture capital investors are all about those Monthly Active Users. Google Talk (the original Google chat app, not whatever reincarnation they’re up to by now) was actually built on top of XMPP, but they abandoned that in favor of inventing roughly sixty-eight proprietary communication protocols of their own over the ensuing 20 years.

Now, to be fair, XMPP as a spec does have its own list of technical problems that might well be solved by building something completely new, but nobody who has a say in how chat apps are made is willing to put in that work for everyone to then be able to use.

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And that’s why it’s a utility. You don’t get to have a special current flowing through the lines or a special plug.

Phones transmit information when I make a call. They’re still a utility.

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