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Facebook Went Down But Was It Really for the Best ?

The digital world went dark, and it was scary

Well what a start to the week that was. Yesterday, the holy trinity, namely Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp, all collectively plummeted for a long six hours. Our favorite corners of the internet perished, making us all anxious by the potential thought of never being able to communicate normally ever again.

Dubbed as one of “the most important breakdowns in internet history”, the American networking giant went awol with millions of users unable to reach out to their close ones. From a financial perspective, the distressing incident was full of consequences. Following the global switch-off, Facebook shares lost a frightening 5 percent which resulted in a loss of over $6 billion for the social media platform’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg.

As much as the monetary impact is worth mentioning, yesterday’s blackout felt like a wake-up call as to how much we rely on a handful of apps to simply interact and exchange. A world without Facebook and co is quite dark and lonesome to be honest.  Most of Gen X, Y and Z’s took it up to the bluebird app Twitter, the only platform that still ran properly all throughout the outage, to express their mixed feelings about the disruption. 

Now, as much as older generations would label this craving to get back to normal quite futile and silly, since the mid-2010s, online applications have grown onto us and become fully-fledged elements of our daily routine. 

If the creative industry as a whole had a bit of a scare last night, it is vital to understand how essential these apps are to keep life going normally while saving many on their way. Beyond lurking for likes and comments, the service provided through these commodities are immeasurable. Yes, it is true that we spend most of our time on it. Yes, it is true that without them our mental health would improve and get better but it is also true that we are better off with, rather than without, the power that resides from within these few digital auditoriums.

Be it to raise awareness for social issues, gender-based violence and more, a lot of what we see go past our eyes online would not if it weren’t for them. There are many dubious things about them, don’t get me wrong. But think of it this way, our region, crippled by corruption, nepotism and so on, struggles to build actual infrastructures to help people in dire need. If television in the West lacks representation and media in our region lacks bias, social media has, fortunately (or unfortunately perhaps), been the only safe space for many to speak up, do well and be good in peace – I mean just look at the impact it had on the Palestinian crisis a few months ago. 

All in all, I must admit that it is quite sad seeing how dependent we are but for once I don’t think that it’s all that bad. It has its pros and cons, its ups and downs but honestly, would we be where we are now without them? 

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