Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Outage highlights how important Facebook has become around the world

NEW YORK — The six-hour blockade on Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp was a headache for many casual users, but far more severe for the millions of people around the world who want to run their businesses or communicate with relatives, fellow parents. rely on social media sites. teacher or neighbor.

When all three services went dark on Monday, it was a stark reminder of the power and reach of Facebook, which owns the photo-sharing and messaging app.

Across the world, the breakdown on WhatsApp hurt many. In Brazil, the messaging service is by far the most widely used app in the country, installed on 99% of smartphones, according to technical pollster Mobile Time.

WhatsApp has become essential for communicating with friends and family in Brazil, as well as for many other tasks such as ordering food. Offices, various services and even the courts had trouble making appointments, and phone lines were overwhelmed.

Hundreds of thousands of Haitians in their homeland and abroad were upset by the WhatsApp outage.

Many of the country’s more than 11 million people rely on it to alert each other about mass violence in particular neighborhoods or to talk to relatives in the US about money transfers and other important matters. Haitian expatriates traveling to the US rely on it to find each other or share important information such as a safe place to sleep.

Nelzie Miril, a 35-year-old unemployed woman who relies on money sent from relatives abroad, said she stopped at a repair shop in the capital of Port-au-Prince because she thought her phone was faulty.

“I was waiting for confirmation of the money transfer from my cousin,” she said. “I was very disappointed.”

“I wasn’t able to hear from my love,” complained 28-year-old Wilkens Bourgogne, referring to his partner, who was in the neighboring Dominican Republic, buying stuff to bring back to Haiti. He said he was concerned about their safety due to the violence in his homeland.

“Insecurity worries everyone,” he said.

In rebel-held Syria, where the war has disrupted telecommunications infrastructure, residents and emergency workers rely mostly on Internet communications.

Nation World News Desk
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