It seems Facebook is entering a rough, troubling phase as the social media giant faces scrutiny amidst damaging testimony from an ex-employee--who is also set to appear before the U.S. Congress Tuesday.
As the company faces backlash over the revelations, things turned worse after a global outage hit all its properties on Monday morning--from the main Facebook website and Messenger to WhatsApp and Instagram.
Facebook Stock Price Suffers Worst Decline Amid Whistleblower Charges, Outage
Facebook stock plummeted 4.9 percent to close Monday at $326.23, its lowest since June and well under the company's 50-day moving average, Investor's Business Daily noted. This is likewise the company's worst single-day decline since its five percent fall on November 9, 2020. Facebook's loss outpaced a decline on the S&P 500 index (1.3 percent) and the Nasdaq Composite index (2.1 percent).
The Monday outage would cost Facebook $164,000 a minute in revenue, scraping away around $6 billion from Mark Zuckerberg's personal wealth, Market Watch reported.
All of Facebook's woes came after an interview aired on CBS "60 Minutes" on Sunday, with former Facebook data scientist Frances Haugen alleging that the company was profit over safety as widespread misinformation and hate speech are posted on the platform. She also stressed Facebook had been deceiving investors on how it was handling the issue.
Haugen had collected a massive amount of internal documents proving her claim and had since shared them to media outlets, particularly the Wall Street Journal, which had been publishing a special report called "The Facebook Files" on her claims. These documents reveal the controversial XCheck program that "whitelists" VIP users to post anything on the platform, the harm Instagram does to the mental health of teenage girls, and how armed groups conduct criminal activities on the social network.
On top of the whistleblower's allegations, Monday proved to be even a darker day for Facebook as users lost access to the Facebook website, its Messenger app, WhatsApp and Instagram, with employees not being able to use their internal communications tools.
Facebook Execs, Staff Communicate Through Text Messaging, Email During Outage
By late afternoon, the outage worsened as engineers could not fix the problem remotely as they normally do. These engineers had to visit the company's main data centers personally and reboot the servers manually. The outage led to Facebook executives and employees communicating through email or text messaging as its internal systems were likewise inaccessible. After six hours, at around 6pm EST, the sites went back to normal.
Even as Facebook seemed to have addressed its technical problem, the ramifications continue. Apart from the lost revenue, the outage was unprecedented, outage tracker Downdetector said in a separate Market Watch report. According to Isla McKetta, chief technology officer of Downdetector's parent firm Ookla, they tracked more than 14 million problem reports that originated from the outage.
In addition, Facebook also lost its membership in the "$1 trillion club," wherein it had shared that exclusivity along with Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Alphabet Inc. with its Monday troubles pushing them down $80 billion under the threshold, with a valuation of $919.79 billion. Zuckerberg slid to sixth in the Forbes' richest and is now behind Oracle founder Larry Ellison.