Perspectives: The Global Impact of Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram Going Dark

Headline Roundup October 6th, 2021

When Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp shut down for most of Monday, the consequences were felt across the globe.

The outage obstructed many social media users in the U.S. from their favorite form of entertainment but had much more serious implications elsewhere. Facebook says it has 3 billion users worldwide; it is used internationally as an information hub by many governments, healthcare networks, school systems and other public service entities. WhatsApp, a communication app with 2 billion users across over 180 countries, is similarly essential to basic communication, information sharing and business in other countries. Since the apps enable free communication between anyone with a WiFi signal, they are especially popular in Latin America and other regions where a lack of business competition makes mobile phone costs extremely high. 

The shutdown's worldwide impact was covered by left- and center-rated news sources, which often highlighted how the outage impacted business, healthcare, government operations and basic communication. Few right-rated news outlets, if any, offered coverage of or perspectives on the outage's impact beyond North America.

From the Center
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While many people around the world coped with the Facebook and Instagram outage by making lighthearted jokes on Twitter, the incident had more serious consequences for WhatsApp users in Latin America.

Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram are now back online after millions were unable to access the social media sites or messaging app for several hours on Monday. The company said the issue was down to a faulty configuration change.

While the social media giant and the apps it owns were suffering issues, people on Twitter—which worked fine throughout Monday's outage—noted that WhatsApp not working would overwhelmingly...

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From the Left
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ANALYSIS

The global Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram outage on Monday may have been an annoyance for the platforms' users in the United States, but it turned life upside down in parts of the rest of the world where the apps have become essential to commerce, health care and the basic functioning of government.

In India, doctors sounded the alarm about being unable to coordinate their schedules or share patient scans without WhatsApp. And in Malaysia, some small-business owners were left without a way to manage day-to-day operations as all business communications that are...

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From the Left
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ANALYSIS

On late Monday evening, 23-year-old Sana Imitiyaz Hussani was, as usual, wearing a salwar suit (traditional Indian attire) with a white apron bearing a pink label that said “Sweet Temptations by Sana Imitiyaz.” After putting the final touches on cake orders, she pulled out her mobile phone to send a WhatsApp message to the delivery service that would take the treats to her customers. But she couldn’t reach the service.

Sana started her home-based bakery business out of Srinagar, the largest city in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, in...

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