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One tweet about outage – Facebook shows its contempt for users Image by Nina Garman from Pixabay

It is a measure of the contempt with which social media behemoth Facebook regards its users, that after an outage which spread well beyond a day, it can only issue a single tweet to explain what went wrong.

Whatever did go wrong has not yet been fully fixed as can be gauged by the fact the Facebook page of its baby-faced owner, Mark Zuckerberg, is still not up as of 9am AEDT.

zuck page

On the first day of the outage, too, Facebook served up a single tweet and kept quiet throughout the day.

All that has been said was that the outage was due to a server configuration error. Really? How illuminating!

That is no explanation; there are hundreds of possibilities and if Zuckerberg had any respect for the billions of people who have provided him with their personal details so he can profit off them, then he would have offered some detail.

Facebook has no paucity of funds to hire a professional who can draft a clear explanation. Many smaller organisations, which do not even make a thousandth of the profit that Facebook does, deal with their customers with much more respect and regard.

A recent example was provided by the small Australian broadband provider, Aussie Broadband. Its service fell over on a weekend and the company could well have followed what Zuckerberg has done: avoid any interaction with customers by using dead bizspeak to say nothing. There are readymade sites to generate such dead speech.

But the chief executive, Phillip Britt, did the opposite: he posted a detailed, chronological account of what had gone wrong. He made no bid to hide any of the gory details. There was no attempt to gild the lily.

One could list dozens of other examples where companies and non-profits have levelled with their users or customers and done the decent thing.

Zuckerberg should realise that it's his users who add value to the site. If nobody offered up their personal details, there would be no billions in the bank for him. And advertisers would disappear if there nobody to advertise to.

One doubts that Zuckerberg gives a rat's. As luck would have it, there is one body that can inject some sense into his head: the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

ACCC chair Rod Sims is in the process of preparing the final report from his inquiry into digital platforms. Facebook is one of the major parasites that has eaten into the profits of Australian journalism and given nothing back, a trait that has been underlined by its response to the outage.

A couple of billions in fines and the baby-faced entrepreneur may come to his senses with a jolt.


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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the sitecame into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.


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