Yesterday, somewhere in the sixth hour of discontinuation of the Facebook disc, I sat in front of my fellow editors at The Verge. We wondered how it was possible that the largest and most influential technological society in the world could have a service interruption for a whole day and basically say nothing about it, except for a cryptic and cryptic tweet. In the end, Facebook said that the interruption was the result of a "change of server configuration" – an impenetrable combination of words that resulted in "we played ourselves". The company had not been attacked, so why not just come back clean?
The Verge The New York Times and others tried to get more information from Facebook during the follow up for comment. After Facebook released its statement today, we asked the company to explain more about the interruption, including the real purpose of the problem. How many countries did it influence? How many people have been interrupted? Facebook ignored our questions, referring to its generic statement and apology.
In light of Facebook's long list of errors, a temporary service interruption may not seem like a big deal. It is also a good material for jokes on Facebook. But what if we took Facebook seriously? What if, as an experiment, we have assumed for charity all the things that Facebook says about itself are true? Here is a brief list of some Facebook beliefs about herself:
- Just last week, Facebook's global security chief said Business Insider which "is the critical infrastructure for democracy modern. "
- In his 201
- In his latest manifesto, Zuckerberg implies that Facebook's future improvements will improve the privacy of citizens around the world and keep dissidents alive.
- In his pre-IPO letter of 2012, Zuckerberg stated that "Facebook was not originally created to be a company. It was built to accomplish a social mission – to make the world more open and connected". He goes on to say: "We do not build services to make money; we make money to build better services."
This is just a (very) small example of the huge set of beliefs that Facebook has built around itself in the last decade. And if we assume they are all true – that Facebook is really the critical infrastructure for modern democracy – how it might be appropriate for that critical infrastructure to go down for so long without offering any significant level of transparency on what happened? Can a platform that makes the world more open and connected succeed in its mission if it is not itself open to the world that depends on it? No, of course not.
What is most alarming about Facebook's silent tones over its record break is that the company was known for its legendary obsession with uptime. I'm sure Mark Zuckerberg is furious about the interruption and his engineers are paying him right now. But if Facebook can't even be honest and helpful with us on the most basic and urgent facts about its existence, how can we trust it? How can anyone take it seriously?