back to article The planet survived six hours without Facebook. Let's make it longer next time

At the time of writing, it has been exactly 100 hours since Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp crept back out of the void onto the internet*. They'd been gone for six hours – or seven billion dollars, if you measure out your life by Zuck's net worth, which we don't recommend. The time for hot takes has passed. We are now in the …

  1. SlippyBuckfast

    Here here. The sooner facebook goes titsup the better imho. Nothing good has ever come out of it. It's negative by design. If you've not read it, "Ten Arguments For Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now" by Jaron Lanier is worth a read.

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      As much as I would like to see Feacebook shrivel and die horribly, I can't get rid of the feeling that the likes of Google have something waiting in the wings, ready to throw onto the stage so that the show goes on.

      If google took over the reins of the zuck empire, it would be an even worse disaster than keeping FB.

      Nature and marketing abhor a vacuum.

      1. Steve Button

        Not necessarily.

        I'm sure Google and others would love to step in and replace FB, but would people not want something that doesn't have all the horrors that Facebook has? A generally nicer place that's not so confrontational all the time? I guess that would have fewer eyeballs on it, and therefore would not be as popular (survival of the fittest, and all that?)

        I would sign up for NiceBook, but I deleted my FaceBook account years ago.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Not necessarily.

          But how long will it take before NiceBook turns nasty?

      2. Snowy Silver badge
        Coat

        They tried

        It was called Googles+ and it failed it was fourth foray into social networking.

        (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google%2B)

        Did it fail due to users not being chained to the service?

    2. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Hear, hear. Both to your comment and by way of correction.

    3. alain williams Silver badge

      Jaron Lanier's book

      If you've not read it, "Ten Arguments For Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now" by Jaron Lanier is worth a read.

      Here is a summary of what he says.

    4. HildyJ Silver badge
      Angel

      A modest proposal

      Since we can't get it to go away entirely, Facebook should be required to shut down to the public from Saturday 1200 GMT to Sunday 1159 GMT for their own maintenance activities and our collective peace and quiet.

    5. Phones Sheridan

      I saw this article last week about an Unfollow-All chrome app that helps wean you off facebook. I went to the Chrome extensions site, and found a few others on it. Installed one, and let it run. I must admit, it's working. My logging into facebook is met with "You are up to date" rather than a newsfeed. I still use FB to keep in touch with people, but I'm spending no time at all scrolling through everyones FBtweets.

      https://www.thenationalnews.com/arts-culture/2021/10/10/facebook-bans-unfollow-everything-extension-that-allowed-users-to-clear-their-newsfeeds/

    6. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

      I concur. I've been off it for years.

      Also, could "an irrelevant Yahoo!" not be called just... "Yahoo!". As far as I recall it was always thus (see also Ask Jeeves). Bring back HotBot, I say.

    7. steviebuk Silver badge

      As much as I hate Facebook (I don't have an account), people do find it useful. My old manager would purely use it to share photos with her relatives in Australia. There is a model maker on YouTube who's really good who uses it as I assume its just so much easier than doing a website. I almost used it for my brother in laws small business as it was just going to be easier for them to manage. I'd setup a Wordpress site but trying to show them how to upload images to it, it just got too complicated.

      The main problem is the algorithms I think as the whistleblower said. I'm no expert and I dislike the platform but from what she said, instead of letting AI (not really AI just an algorithm) from deciding content, they should let users decide the content. But they let AI do it as its cheaper and allows them to sell more shit.

      What needs to be done however is news papers, online news sites etc, should be told to NOT rely on just one vendor for their logins. The amount of sites that only allow you to login with Facebook just get avoided. They then also have the issue when the site is down, so our their logins.

      I'll also add they do, occasionally have interesting info on Facebook that is behind the wall that I can see over, which is annoying. However, since searching for this info again, for some reason I could see what was over the wall without logging in. That info is just history of where I was born and grew up. No longer live in the area but its interesting seeing the past history of it.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There are three angles that matter. One is the pure technical side – how a giant corporation, built out of the most resilient networking technologies ever created, just vanished.

    A future story for "who me" without a doubt. Lack of change control, or a wobbly finger on a keyboard - there are many ways it could have happened.

    One is what it teaches us about Facebook's importance to our daily lives.

    Absolutely none at all, assuming you actually have a meaningful life to start with.

    The last is what it tells us about Facebook itself, where it goes next, and whether its strip-mining of societal values for profit will continue.

    Who cares?

    And as for those who built their business on someone elses platform over which they have no control, and I assume, pay not a penny? Well, that's a risk of doing business that way - like someone who runs a business from home, using the cheapest possible broadband service with no backup plan.

    But I do feel for those "Families dealing with sickness or crises remotely suffered." Just because it is cheap and effective does not mean it is guaranteed to be reliable. Perhaps one should raise a glass as to how reliable and resilient the internet normally is, 99.9999999% of the time. A beer to those who thought up these protocols and technologies 40-50 years ago.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      There's one angle in this overlooked... tech is great for almost everything. But when it fails as in FB's case and fail to the point that everything is locked down, it's time to re-assess. I've seen a slow but steady movement to the "secure" doorlocks. The physical key is no longer there. Computer failure, power outages will effectively lock everyone out of everything.

      It just seems that rational thinking and fully exploring the "what if" side of things has fallen into to disfavor.We're seeing this in many facets in our lives from cars, houses, buildings, even aircraft. We're headed to one of the armageddon scenarios from the science fiction of days past.

      As side note.... Why couldn't FB not recovered and just go away leaving their data centers and offices as monuments to blind reliance on tech?

    2. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Devil

      "The last is what it tells us about Facebook itself, where it goes next, and whether its strip-mining of societal values for profit will continue."

      Who cares?

      Personally I don't care one femtoiota, but there is a sufficiently large number of users abused who want this to stay, and those aren't just found within Facebook's higher echelons. People who think the good outweighs the bad, or are in a bubble not negatively affected that much at all. People who run their business through Facebook, and wouldn't have an immediately workable alternative. And where I would consider that tough shit and a bad business decision, those people would definitely want Facebook resurrected,warts pustulent boils and all because that's where their assembled clientele was; on any other platform they would have to rebuild that, taking time. Same same for 'social' interactions.

      1. My-Handle Silver badge

        And where I would consider that tough shit and a bad business decision...

        I personally hate Facebook with a bitter passion, but I don't think I can agree with you there. My other half runs her own business and Facebook / Whatsapp is her main means of advertising her services. It makes sense... that's where her customers are, and where people can quickly and easily communicate about her business. As for over-reliance on one business / service, when you're self-employed or a one-person business, redundancy in these things is something you often can't afford. It simply costs too much in time and / or money to maintain two of every kind of service you're dependant on.

        1. genghis_uk Silver badge

          If you piggyback your business on Facebook's service for free - well, you get what you pay for...

          A website costs very little and you can still point to it from Facebook. Better still, you can point to it from Twitter or Google etc. when Facebook borks!

  3. Roger Kynaston Silver badge
    Meh

    It will take a while

    I have got Whatsapp and use it. I have two main groups who I talk to. I have been banging the drum for an alternative platform for a while and all I get is silence.

    I am coming to the view that they know that the communications provided are not important so it doesnt' matter if you don't go to the trouble of having a fallback/standby/alternative.

    They are reconciled to the Zuck hoovering up all their data and do their best to stop their offspring from being bullied or whatever (or don't know if said malfeasance is happening?)

    Final meandering question: Would it be possible to create an antisocial media that wasn't antisocial?

    1. John Robson Silver badge

      Re: It will take a while

      Final meandering question: Would it be possible to create an antisocial media that wasn't antisocial?

      Yes - but you need to figure a way to pay for it, or to have it truly distributed (and that would need it to be a very reliable "just plug it in" appliance - and then you need to support that as well...

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: It will take a while

        "Yes - but you need to figure a way to pay for it, or to have it truly distributed"

        Like Diaspora?

        The actual problem is that these networks connect people and some people are antisocial so how do you keep those out?

        1. WolfFan Silver badge

          Re: It will take a while

          Hmm… how _do_ you keep them out? Hmmm… Hunt them down. Kill them all. By this axe I rule!

          Why are you looking at me that way? I’ve got a little list, you want to be on it?

          1. Stoneshop Silver badge
            Mushroom

            I’ve got a little list

            Understatement of the year, I'd hope.

            Join forces?

        2. 2+2=5 Silver badge

          Re: It will take a while

          > The actual problem is that these networks connect people and some people are antisocial so how do you keep those out?

          Simple - you don't. Instead, like Usenet, you make it easy to block them. A prominent block button that gives choices: block for the rest of the day; for a week; for a month; for a year with the option to block replies as well.

      2. ThatOne Silver badge

        Re: It will take a while

        It would be terribly difficult bordering to impossible, because you can lead the user to water but you can't make him drink. The biggest problem with building any "social media" is the herd effect: Unless everybody uses it, nobody will.

        For this reason we can only have one single big actor at any time, instead of several competing ones. And for the same reason it keeps getting bigger no matter what happens. If Google and Apple despite their billions didn't manage to compete with Facebook, it's because the market had already decided Facebook was the place to be and to be seen.

        Let's take a real life example, WhatsApp since we're talking about it: You could use Signal, which is better in most ways - but, it isn't what the cool kids use, so nobody would be seen dead using it. If you don't believe me, ask a young one about switching to Signal: He/she/it will sprout a long list of mostly fallacious reasons he can't, which mostly boil down to the fact his peers expect him to be on Whatapp, because that's where the cool kids are. Inertia does the rest. WhatsApp would indeed need to become very uncool for the masses to start looking for an alternative.

        1. DavidYorkshire

          Re: It will take a while

          Another problem is the number of clubs and societies which use it as their only / main way to communicate. Fifteen years ago these would have had their own website and email list, or used something fairly non-offensive like a Yahoo group to communicate. Now they just have a Facebook page.

          1. Stork

            Re: It will take a while

            Very much this.

            My son’s sports club has a website, but all communication about practice etc is on WhatsApp. I hate it but need to know.

            Also, have found that FB marketplace is much more efficient in shifting old stuff we want to sell than the regular alternative

          2. PerlyKing Silver badge
            Childcatcher

            Re: Clubs and societies

            More worryingly, my Parish Council have decided to set up a Facebook page. They've given assurances that important stuff will be posted on their own web site as well, but it doesn't feel like a good day for local democracy :-(

            1. ThatOne Silver badge

              Re: Clubs and societies

              > on their own web site as well

              The bets are open how long they will keep doing this double work. In a month or two they will realize they don't need the quaint old website and the expenses tied to it...

            2. MachDiamond Silver badge

              Re: Clubs and societies

              "More worryingly, my Parish Council have decided to set up a Facebook page. They've given assurances that important stuff will be posted on their own web site as well, but it doesn't feel like a good day for local democracy :-("

              My city was neglecting their web site and only updating their FB site for a while until they got sued. As FB is considered a subscription service, government agencies can't use it as a sole source for publishing public notices and documents. It's not a big city. They could hire a kid from the local high school to come in a couple of days a week and maintain the city web site. The more difficult bits such as payment portals could be maintained by a professional company since that sort of thing doesn't change very often.

          3. MachDiamond Silver badge

            Re: It will take a while

            "these would have had their own website and email list, or used something fairly non-offensive like a Yahoo group to communicate. Now they just have a Facebook page."

            I can't recall Yahoo Groups ever closing a group for political reasons. If you happen to be in a FB group that collects shiny beads and next week shiny beads are said to be exclusionary, anti-LGBTQXY and racist because "people of color" rarely collect them, FB might shut the group down and put a black mark on everybody's account that participated. The business that sells shiny beads that started the group to help draw in customers will also be made to look like bad people and their main marketing channel is gone along with the bulk of their sales.

            If a business is using a walled garden, they have to understand the huge risk they are taking if they rely on it too much. Amazon shuts down vendors for all sorts of reasons. One reason that they vigorously deny, so it's probably correct, is when Amazon decides there is much profit to be made by selling an item themselves that they can have knocked off cheap in China. If the seller is only selling this product on Amazon, their business is shut down with no notice, any cloud based entertainment they have purchased is shut off and any money due them will be processed rather slowly along with any merchandise sent to Amazon for warehousing.

        2. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: It will take a while

          For this reason we can only have one single big actor at any time, instead of several competing ones.

          Not if they used a common api. We can use any mail client with smtp or imap. We can write our own. We can use any browser with a number of different web servers. There are a number of different search providers.

          It is not beyond human capability to devise a standard by which a user of any social media platform could choose to share their content with a user of any other, without having to insist on having an account on both. So a chav who insists on using the sewers of faecebook or whatscrap could share their posts with someone using any other social media, and vice versa for the fundamental communication. Much like SMS works across any phone on any network. This is much more in tune with what the internet was like before scum started trying to fence off as much as possible for their corporate greed and before the likes of chavbook attempted to become the de facto internet.

          1. Mr. Flibble

            Re: It will take a while

            https://activitypub.rocks/ anyone?

          2. ThatOne Silver badge

            Re: It will take a while

            > Not if they used a common api

            Never ever! How would you monetize something if everybody can freely tap into your hard work and investment? You would never get that investment to start with.

            Facebook became what it is specifically because you need Facebook to use it. Else it would had been an insignificant "also ran" and Zuckerberg would work a second job to make ends meet...

            It's commercial imperatives vs. idealism, and guess who usually wins.

            1. werdsmith Silver badge

              Re: It will take a while

              It's commercial imperatives vs. idealism, and guess who usually wins.

              Regulation. Make them do it. They only have themselves to blame if the big governments need to step in. The day is getting closer. They can compete to make their environment the better one to attract the users to be with them, but those of us who want to keep our hands clean can go elsewhere.

        3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: It will take a while

          "it isn't what the cool kids use"

          And all the better for that.

          1. ThatOne Silver badge

            Re: It will take a while

            Everybody aspires to be part of the "cool kids" (which, depending on age and social status can take different aspects). For many it's their life's pursuit.

            Advertisement is almost entirely based on it, telling you you'd live/look/feel rich and beautiful, and do like that celebrity does, if only you eat this, or use that detergent. So yes, while quite ridiculous, it's nevertheless decisive.

      3. Cybersaber

        Re: It will take a while

        Far more data science problems to solve here. If it were as simple as you seem to think, there would already be a SocialPi.

        How to do you deal with integrity?

        Say Bob and Alice and Carol each have a SocialPi. Carol and Bob get mad at Alice, so they each modify their copies of Alice's posts with evil messages to embarass her.

        How do you deal with convergence?

        There are 100 bobs, 100 Carols, and 100 Alices.

        Bob updates his status to say he's friends with carol. Alice likes the post. Carol repudiates her friendship with bob. All happen with the same few seconds. How do you resolve the conflicting commits.

        What if in the middle of that A BGP goof happens, and all the bobs are isolated from the Internet, and replies to Carol. While this split brain is going on.

        What about performance and storage? How do you split up and host something like Farcebook on a billion Pis in a billion homes? Where does your post live? How many copies are there? Are they cached close to you, and if so, your relatives across the pond, how slow will it be to retrieve videos of their babies from six different pieces distributed across the globe? How many of those will need to be online to form a quorum to complete the video? Five? Fifty? 100?

        Consensus, convergence, etc. These are hard problems to solve. They do have some decent solutions out there, and that's not even addressing capacity and availability. This is not a problem that will be easily solved with distributed computing, even if all those technical problems are solved.

        Let's say we have SuperProtocol that addresses all the technical failures, now we bring in human problems.

        Space, compute, and networking aren't free. People have to buy and power those Pis, and provide connectivity. What happens when you can't post because there isn't enough storage on the network, because the storage redundancy requirements would be huge?

        There are even more problems in such a system.

        None of them are probably ultimately unsolvable (except maybe the storage one) but now what about cost and support? When there is a takedown request, who is responsible? Where there's a subpoena for a criminal investigation, who is responsible for gathering the data?

        It's one of those 'commons' problems from social sciences all over again.

        Still good on you for your idea. It's a worthy one, just perhaps not as simple as you think.

        1. LybsterRoy Bronze badge

          Re: It will take a while

          And the answer is....... BLOCKCHAIN

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: It will take a while

            Blockchain is not the answer to anything.

            1. ThatOne Silver badge
              Joke

              Re: It will take a while

              AI is!

          2. doublelayer Silver badge

            Re: It will take a while

            That solves the first named problem (data integrity) while making two other named problems worse (storage requirement and operation cost) and doing nothing at all about the rest of them. Try again?

            1. Cybersaber

              Re: It will take a while

              Actually blockchain doesn't even solve the first problem. If there are three actors, and two conspire to re-write history on the blockchain, that's 66.6% control and they'll succeed under any distributed blockchain implementation I'm aware of.

              Blockchain isn't the solution to very many problems, just a limited few, of which this is not one.

              1. John Robson Silver badge

                Re: It will take a while

                But with a hundred uninterested parties... they'd have a much harder time.

                A simple digital signature could be effective.

                Or of course the option that Bob and Carol don't need copies of Alice's posts... They can cache them sure, but they don't need copies.

                Carol's device is the only one that needs to know what Carol has said.

    2. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: It will take a while

      "Final meandering question: Would it be possible to create an antisocial media that wasn't antisocial?"

      That really depends what you mean by "antisocial". Some of Facebook's particular ills can be corrected. The advertising/data collection can be resolved by forbidding it and assessing large fines. Someone will have to find a way to pay for it which doesn't break that, but it can be done. The buying up the competition could also be prevented in a regulatory way. If the problem is about the users though, it's a lot harder. Wherever you have billions in one place, you can't always stop them doing stupid or bad things. Misinformation will spread, people will commit crimes, people will hurt someone else, etc. While Facebook doesn't care and gleefully allows it, there aren't many easy ways to get around that, and most would have additional negative side-effects.

      1. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: It will take a while

        "The advertising/data collection can be resolved by forbidding it and assessing large fines."

        It's the collection of PII that brings in the lion share of revenue for FB. If people had to pay real money or it was just selling ads, it wouldn't have the power that it does. Many people will happily give up all of their privacy since they have never been taught to value it so it holds no value for them. Charge them a tenner every month and many will never sign up. There is so much advertising online now that we've all learned to filter much of it out. At least consciously.

    3. hoola Silver badge

      Re: It will take a while

      The comments about small businesses and such like relying on Facebook or WhatsApp to communicate also highlights the problems of use free, Social Media tools "because they are there".

      Most of the time it does just work but the way Facebook in particular if becoming a defacto method of contacting companies is really annoying.

      Everyone (almost) has a telephone and email. There are some weird people out there (I am one of them) that have managed without Facebook and have no intention of increasing my footprint just to have to contact a company.

      I am obliged to use WhatsApp but would rather not however a significant number of the people I know and interact with have both.

      It is a pain and whilst I have some sympathy for businesses, it is a free service funding on advertising and selling data. If it goes down then maybe you should have considered this before committing to the social media teeny boppers route of communications (or whatever they are now) who are incapable of using anything other than social media to post anything and everything they do....

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Back in the day, Novell had a tool which allowed you to run the same command across multiple servers in your NDS tree. One day it disappeared from Novell's site and all mention of it was purged. I asked my contacts about it as I found it a useful tool.

    It turned out that one customer had used the tool to run a diagnostic command intended for a single Netware server across every server in their NDS Tree. It deleted every bit of the NDS tree from every server. (for you youngsters: NDS Tree == Active Directory) I'm guessing I know the answer to the question "Did you have a backup?"

    It sounds like some poor Facebook Network Admin had a similar moment - but on a much bigger scale!

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      It sounds like some poor Facebook Network Admin had a similar moment - but on a much bigger scale!

      This won't be the last time it happens. Humans are fallible and thus, the devices they build are also fallible. Too many people don't believe this as they think/believe they are infallible.

    2. hoola Silver badge

      Ah, I have fond memories of that tool, very powerful but always worth a second set of eyes when using it.

      Something like embox if I remember correctly, it was a long time ago......

  5. find users who cut cat tail

    > One is what it teaches us about Facebook's importance to our daily lives.

    I read about the outage in the news the following day. Not surprising that I wouldn't notice – but apparently no one else cared enough to mention it either.

  6. Pete4000uk

    Without Facebook...

    ....how would I keep up with old friends I've not seen since 1992? I'll have to go out and make 'real' friends and spend time with them.

    1. Def Silver badge

      Re: Without Facebook...

      But it's not about just keeping up with old friends you never see anymore.

      I keep up with current friends who live all around the world. Not so much through what they post on Facebook (that's obviously part of it), but more through Messenger and Whatsapp. Yes, other messaging apps exist, but most people I know use the above.

      I also use Facebook to see what events are happening locally, which friends are going, and organise meeting up with them there. (Or in the case of my local pub knowing when to avoid the awful live music events they put on most weekends.)

      1. tiggity Silver badge

        Re: Without Facebook...

        I don't like how many companies, groups use FB for disseminating information.

        Especially given that FB normally only allows a non FB member to see the last few posts, so (as someone without a FB account) I often do not see lots of local events.... But, I'll just keep missing out (if something happening locally that is "right up my street", invariably one of my friends tells me about it (not by social media!), so as long as I have a critical mass of FB using friends I do not miss out).

        What I really hate is companies that have their own websites but still put urgent / important news on FB but not on their website (e.g. stares at Trent Barton buses who in the last UK bad snow spell cancelled services due to the heavy snow but the info was not on their web site, just on FB & Twitter)

        1. DavidYorkshire

          Re: Without Facebook...

          Railway companies tend to do that as well - and use social media as the only way to contact them for a quick answer (they could have a chat function on their websites, but don't).

          Often the only option on the website is an enquiry form, which might get a response in a couple of weeks. Maybe.

        2. yetanotheraoc

          Re: Without Facebook...

          Upvoted, I agree with all your points.

          "so as long as I have a critical mass of FB using friends I do not miss out"

          Yes, of course, I chat on the phone with distant family and they tell me happenings of closer family from seeing it on FaceBook. Also reminds me of a book How to Live Well Without Owning a Car, where the key piece of advice boiled down to -- when you really need a car, borrow the use of someone else's car, they won't mind. https://www.amazon.com/How-Live-Well-Without-Owning/dp/1580087574

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Without Facebook...

      "how would I keep up with old friends I've not seen since 1992?"

      Email. Phone. Snail mail.

      If Facebook didn't exist it wouldn't have to be invented. The only thing wrong is that somebody did.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Without Facebook...

        "how would I keep in touch with old friends.......?"

        That puerile excuse for supporting scum again. It's really not difficult, if they are really friends they will stay in touch. The Faecebook excuse is just laziness.

        1. Skiver

          Re: Without Facebook...

          That's a bit rude. While there is nothing anyone can say that will change your perspective, but it's a lot more than just friends. As I wrote earlier, for those of us who have family members who live in different parts of the country or world, social media provides the ability to keep in touch with them. I rather enjoy enjoy staying in touch with family members.

          It isn't laziness. It's practicality. It would simply be infeasible to stay in touch with more than a few family members.

          And to be clear, this is not commentary on FB as a company or even a defense of FB in general. It's an argument against the "social media bad" point of view.

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Without Facebook...

            Email. Phone. Snail mail.

            1. Richard 12 Silver badge

              Re: Without Facebook...

              Phone is rude. I'm busy, I'm not going to drop everything for you unless it's an actual emergency - and then I will drop everything and help you sort it.

              Snail mail is expensive and incredibly slow.

              Email is fine, but all the clients are really clunky for conversation.

              Try again, but this time consider how these tools are actually used. It's entirely async.

              SMS is actually the closest, however it doesn't do 1:Many and it doesn't do international.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Without Facebook...

                Ever heard of the Dog and Bone?

                Nah. thought not.

              2. LybsterRoy Bronze badge

                Re: Without Facebook...

                --Phone is rude.--

                But requiring you to sit in front of a PC to respond to FaceBook isn't? Strange

                --Try again, but this time consider how these tools are actually used. It's entirely async.--

                Isn't FaceBook?

                1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                  Re: Without Facebook...

                  "Isn't FaceBook?"

                  I suppose if you have two addicts typing online together it doesn't look like i's async.

                  OTOH I mentioned a genealogical one-name study in another comment. I remember an occasion where we were both online at the same time after one of us - can't remember which - had just got a break on a line. The conversation went on by email as each of us kept working on it. I said "at the same time" - here it was lunch time, I've no idea what time it was in California where he lives. By the end of my lunch (and probably Bargain Hunt as well!) we'd sorted out the entire line between us.

          2. LybsterRoy Bronze badge

            Re: Without Facebook...

            Out of interest what benefit do you perceive from using Facebook rather than email and a CC list?

            1. Def Silver badge

              Re: Without Facebook...

              Convenience along with the fact that, as has already been mentioned, email is clunky and awkward.

              With email I either

              1) create one email group with all my friends

              2) create many smaller groups of different friends

              3) send individual emails for each one of them.

              The first two options don't work because most of my friends don't know each other.

              What happens when one friend adds someone I don't know to the "group"?

              How does someone remove themselves from a group conversation they're not interested in?

              What happens when my friends start including me in their group conversations with people I don't know?

              Not to mention trying to track multiple threads of conversation in an email is completely and utterly impossible.

              The last option would be tedious beyond belief if I wanted to update some of them about something.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Without Facebook...

                Jami, Element, etc, etc. There are many options.

                1. Def Silver badge

                  Re: Without Facebook...

                  I was responding specifically to the question about Facebook. I know there are dozens of different messaging apps available. But well done for taking part.

              2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                Re: Without Facebook...

                "The first two options don't work because most of my friends don't know each other."

                Do they need to?

                I have a couple of mailing lists, one is a local history group and the other is a genealogical one name study group. Although to an outsider their interests might appear to overlap, in practice there's little in common other than my own involvement.

              3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                Re: Without Facebook...

                "email is clunky and awkward"

                With email I have a local archive of all manner of things - business transactions, private and my long-closed freelancing business, family stuff, family history stuff, local history stuff, everything I've been interested in and felt the need to keep going back for years.

                To some extent it is clunky and awkward because even with some rules-based stuff, because no email client I've seen has been designed to do half what an efficient office filing system would do but it's a different league to depending on somebody else's computer to do it for me.

                Messages are not always ephemeral.

        2. Outski Bronze badge

          Re: Without Facebook...

          Couldn't give a shit about Facebook, but WhatsApp was crucial while MrsO and I were separated for four years due to the Hostile Environment. Whether it was talking about the kids and how they were getting on at school, our application for her visa, just chatting and saying "I love you" on a daily basis, this would not have been possible via phone or snail mail, even email would have been a bind.

          In the place where she was, rural east Java, simple connectivity via WA was about the best we could hope for. It saved us, in many ways.

          But FB itself can go and pound sand.

          1. werdsmith Silver badge

            Re: Without Facebook...

            There are alternatives to Zuck's WhatsCrap. You don't have to feed the monster.

            After all these years, still nobody has come up with an excuse that stands up.

            1. Outski Bronze badge

              Re: Without Facebook...

              Ok, you try being separated from your family for four years. Telegram and Signal weren't a thing when we needed WA.

              Ideological purity is all very well, but matters not a shit when real life intervenes in all its many nasty ways.

              1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                Re: Without Facebook...

                Our daughter went off for 3 years post-doc in Australia. We regularly spoke on the phone. It's a service that long pre-dates Facebook, WhatsApp and the rest and I fully expect to post-date them as well.

                1. Outski Bronze badge

                  Re: Without Facebook...

                  And good for her. However, a post-doc in Aus is far removed from a kampung in east Java, where your income is what you can make and sell in the market outside your front door, and international phone calls will cost you a day's sales for just five minutes. Hence the reliance on WA.

              2. doublelayer Silver badge

                Re: Without Facebook...

                Your argument is suffering from this second post.

                "Ok, you try being separated from your family for four years."

                I'm sure that was terrible. I don't wish that on my enemies. But it's not a cogent response to there being alternatives to WhatsApp.

                "Telegram and Signal weren't a thing when we needed WA."

                Possible, as WhatsApp started in 2009, Telegram in 2013, and Signal in 2014. So perhaps you do mean the period between 2009 and 2013. However, there were many things like it at that time. Here's one: email. Email is low on data usage, has clients for everything, works internationally, etc. You could easily have used that instead. It's not the only thing out there. Sending text over the internet wasn't invented by WhatsApp.

                "Ideological purity is all very well, but matters not a shit when real life intervenes in all its many nasty ways."

                I don't begrudge you your WhatsApp use. In fact, if the time period is as discussed, it wasn't even Facebook's at the time so I would have been using it too. In the very limited discussion of whether it does something otherwise unavailable, the answer was no then and remains no nowadays.

        3. Robert Grant Silver badge

          Re: Without Facebook...

          That puerile excuse for supporting scum again. It's really not difficult, if they are really friends they will stay in touch. The Faecebook excuse is just laziness.

          Name-calling is not convincing.

          1. werdsmith Silver badge

            Re: Without Facebook...

            Name-calling is not convincing.

            I don't give a shit. Carry on with your excuses.

        4. hoola Silver badge

          Re: Without Facebook...

          Facebook appears to encourage people to have "friends" in the sense that they like, link or follow (not sure as I don' use it).

          They are not friends, merely people that have connected electronically. Then there is all the fuss when someone decides to "unfriend" a friend.

          The entire thing is artificial and constructed. Whether things would have been different if better people had been in control at the start we will never know.

          I suspect not as it needed a particular mindset to allow the "thing" to be created and evolve in the way Facebook has.

          I don't really see how a socially and morally responsible person could ever believe that Facebook (as we know it), overall is a good thing.

          The entire ethos is corrupt and without any form of responsibility to anything or anyone other than to the benefit of their bank (and data) balance.

      2. Stoneshop Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Without Facebook...

        If Facebook didn't exist it wouldn't have to be invented. The only thing wrong is that somebody did.

        This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.

        1. captain veg Silver badge

          Re: Without Facebook...

          Many are increasingly of the opinion that they’d all made a big mistake in coming down from Usenet in the first place.

          -A.

        2. MachDiamond Silver badge

          Re: Without Facebook...

          "This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move."

          I miss Douglas.

    3. Sixtiesplastictrektableware

      Re: Without Facebook...

      Plenty people use it for legitimate emotional connectivity. Lots of community building, too. I always forget all of the dedicated businesses running off the thing.

      The best evil always has a thin veneer of good to it.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Without Facebook...

        None of those things need Facebook. And as to businesses that assume I have to have a Facebook account to deal with them...well, I'll forget them as well.

        1. MachDiamond Silver badge

          Re: Without Facebook...

          "And as to businesses that assume I have to have a Facebook account to deal with them...well, I'll forget them as well."

          I had to fight like crazy to get rid of Text, but I managed. It's hard to drill it into customer's heads that I don't do Text. They still try to send messages to my land line as well and most of the time their system doesn't indicate a failure. At one time I analyzed how Text was working for me and found it wasn't. An interaction that would take less than 5 minutes by voice would take 20-30 minutes via Text. If I needed several bits of information, I'd have to send one line for each request as nobody would answer in a way that made sense if I didn't. I couldn't be doing anything else while texting. Texts go missing and are never seen again. Texts get delayed. Just recently I was out with a friend and he received a text from his wife. He called her right back only to find she had sent the text the day before and long since had gone to the store and bought what she needed. I already have a good system for managing email. My accounting system's CRM can clip on to emails so I can reference them to a job. Perhaps I can do that with Text, but it would just duplicate what I already have spent hours getting perfected for no gain.

          Adding social media accounts would drive me BSC. It's highly unlikely to add to my revenue but could easily rob my time/profits. My biggest accounts are far less leading edge and still use the post for things. The people that want me to have an instapintatwitface account are Remora and I want nothing but sharks.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Without Facebook...

      >> ...how would I keep up with old friends I've not seen since 1992?

      If you've not seen them for 30 years, can they and you really be friends with each other? Besides, you would have made those friends long before evil shit like facebook existed. How did that happen and why can't you make contact with those people like you did all those years ago?

      >> I'll have to go out and make 'real' friends and spend time with them.

      Shock! Horror! What is the world coming to?

    5. Skiver

      Re: Without Facebook...

      While this is undoubtedly true for some, for many of us social media allows us to stay in touch with family and friends no matter where they live. I have family that lives all over the U.S. and even one family member in South America. It would be extremely difficult to stay in touch with all of them on a regular basis without social media.

      1. Falmari Silver badge

        Re: Without Facebook...

        Take the advice of the doctor above;-

        "Email. Phone. Snail mail." (Doctor Syntax)

        1. Richard 12 Silver badge

          Re: Without Facebook...

          None of those do the same job. Phone and snail mail are also many, many orders of magnitude more expensive.

          Try postal chess sometime, tell me if you really think it's a replacement.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Doh!

            Never heard about calling people over the internet then?

            Until Microshaft fscked it up Skype was great at that. Never mind. This modern tech is probably too complicated for you.

          2. Stoneshop Silver badge

            Re: Without Facebook...

            I seem to have done okay from even before the Internet was available to more than just the few who worked at the companies whose line of business it was. At which time email between different companies could well be as slow as snail mail, or even slower. A friend worked at IBM in Heidelberg, I worked at Digital in the Netherlands. I've more than once covered that distance faster on a motorbike than email did.

            Yes, by today's standards snail mail is slow, comparatively speaking. Did it matter before the Internet and email came along? Occasionally, in which case you called, sent a telegram or a telex.

            Social media has clearly created the need it purports to fill.

          3. doublelayer Silver badge

            Re: Without Facebook...

            Phone doesn't just mean the PSTN these days. It means a system by which you talk to a specific person, whether that's a normal phone call (works great inside the country but maybe not across borders), Signal audio/video calls, Skype, Jitsi, your own private satellite link, whatever you need. If you can have a Facebook group, you can do one or more of those, probably for very cheap or free. If the forum aspect is nice, you can also do that. This doesn't mean that Facebook's useless, but nothing it does is unique to it and you could switch to something providing the same benefits if you had the interest and could convince the others.

      2. dave 76

        Re: Without Facebook...

        "While this is undoubtedly true for some, for many of us social media allows us to stay in touch with family and friends no matter where they live. I have family that lives all over the U.S. and even one family member in South America. It would be extremely difficult to stay in touch with all of them on a regular basis without social media."

        My immediate family live in enough countries that the sun virtually never sets on us. We seem to do fine with SMS, email, video conference calling.

        It all depends on how much you want to change - I agree the least resistance option for many is facebook, but it really doesn't take much to not use it.

    6. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Without Facebook...

      You're confusing "friends" with "acquaintances".

      1. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: Without Facebook...

        "You're confusing "friends" with "acquaintances"."

        It's easier to type "friends".

    7. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: Without Facebook...

      "how would I keep up with old friends I've not seen since 1992?"

      I call them every so often to catch up. I send emails. I even send <gasp> snail mail/postcards. Want to show somebody you care? Send them a tangible letter. Drop in a couple of real photos too.

      One person I know that is rather famous always responds when he gets a letter from me. When I see him at an event every couple of years, he remembers me and we have a nice chat and sometimes a coffee. The reason he remembers me over the thousands of people he meets every year is that I keep in touch by post. Very few do that so I stand out.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I deleted my account years ago and would party in the streets the day Facebook's IP address was permanently scorched from the earth. I think social media is the most dangerous technology we've invented since the bomb; perhaps more so, and similarly it's a pandora's box that can never be closed. Other services could replace it and maybe they will, but the masters of this world have seen the immense value of having such a vast portion of human consciousness hard wired into a single feed to allow it to fail. Rather than seeing the beginning of the end, I fear we're just seeing the end of the beginning, with the metaverse on the horizon, Facebook casts its eye ever outwards toward the entire digital landscape. As Orwell said - the choice for mankind lies between freedom and happiness and for the great bulk of mankind, happiness is better.

    1. DS999 Silver badge

      Social media is not dangerous

      If Facebook was still what it was when it was first made available to schools outside of Harvard, it was just a way to link up with people you know - and use connections to them to find others you might not have seen for a long time. Those of us who went to school before cell phones and email were common lost track of the overwhelming majority of friends from college, Facebook provided a way to reconnect with some of them.

      Where Facebook and Twitter cause problems is because they "suggest" news and groups you might like based on the news articles you've clicked on, groups you are a member of, people you are friends with, and so forth. Even that's not necessarily problematic, but humans are a stupid animal and seem to engage more with extremist and violent content. Hardly a surprise - just look at the most popular new show on Netflix!

      That extremist/violent content wouldn't be encouraged by the suggestions if these were subscription services without advertising, there would be no motive to do so. However since they make more money the more people engage thanks to showing them more ads they have financial incentive to do the wrong thing.

      So the fix is: laws that remove that financial incentive. I'm not claiming I have a model for the law that would do that, but if enough people think about it someone will.

  8. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    Loyd Grossman accent <on> ... Who would run a company like this ?

    A question I ask myself a lot is, given Zuck is now worth a bit more than £3.50, why is he still there? Either

    a) he can never have enough money

    b) he can never have enough power

    c) he's an android developed purely to make money and power for it's mysterious operator

    or

    d) all the above.

    Maybe I'm missing something?

    1. Def Silver badge

      Re: Loyd Grossman accent <on> ... Who would run a company like this ?

      Or maybe he just enjoys working at the company he helped create? It's a crazy thought, I know, but some people actually like what they do.

      1. DavidYorkshire

        Re: Loyd Grossman accent <on> ... Who would run a company like this ?

        Indeed - many of the founders of the previous generation of really big IT companies stayed in charge for years, and one or two (e.g. Michael Dell) still are.

      2. Chronos

        Re: Loyd Grossman accent <on> ... Who would run a company like this ?

        Have you seen the man speak? He has an emotion deficit that Spock would have envied. The problem with Facebook and, indeed, most social notworks is a lack of empathy, both on the part of the companies running them and the users using them. It's like giving a man a chainsaw: Give any old munchkin a mechnism to destroy people with a pithy put-down and they're going to do it.

        Why do we feel comfortable gesturing at other drivers when driving? Because the mobile box insulates us and virtualises interaction. It's the same with sitting behind a keyboard. I'm probably doing it right now, although I am always aware on ElReg that other commentards are at least as smart as I.

        What is really dangerous, though, is the blurring of the lines between fact and opinion. Facts are becoming "number of likes/upvotes/thumbs up" with the proliferation of mob validation. This, in my opinion is driven by the social networks and real experts are being lost due to the low SNR. Covid has been an excellent heads-up. Whether we hear that warning us up to us.

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: Loyd Grossman accent <on> ... Who would run a company like this ?

          Why do we feel comfortable gesturing at other drivers when driving?

          Because we want to demonstrate to them how pathetic we are?

          I don't think I could ever be comfortable doing that.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Loyd Grossman accent <on> ... Who would run a company like this ?

            Because when someone pulls up behind you in the overtaking lane and flashes his (it's almost always a "he") lights because your doing 70 and he was doing 90 a few seconds ago, ignoring him usually makes him more aggressive. A quick wave to say "I note your displeasure but I'm here legitimately and you'll just have to wait while I finish my manoveur" is only courteous.

            :-)

  9. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "Pity the lonely, unloved Facebook network admin"

    Pity? Unloved? No, we applaud and love him or her and wish the rest of them would follow suit.

    Which is pretty well the point being made a couple of paragraphs above.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I deleted my account sometime back in 2012. Life goes on just fine thanks.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Life goes on...

      Never felt the need/urge/whatever to sign up to any of these networks in the first place. The same for GMail.

      When incidents like these happen I just get on with life while people all around me get the heebies aka withdrawal symptoms and wonder if the world has indeed ended but no one was able to tell them because Zuckbook went TITSUP.

      Suck on this Zuck --> see icon

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Life goes on...

        Last time I looked Gmail was a mail service provider. OK, it's Google so I suppose if you access it via the web you'll get ads but why do that - pop.gmail.com port 995 works perfectly well.

        1. VicMortimer

          Re: Life goes on...

          Because I have a couple of racks of servers. It's a lot easier for me to spin up another account or add an address with a quick SSH than it is to go through Google's account setup process.

          And if it's on my own hardware, I don't feel uncomfortable leaving the mail on the server and using IMAP. POP was amazing in the 1990s, not so much now.

        2. terrythetech

          Re: Life goes on...

          And email being unencrypted can be read and filed for future use by Google - and will be. Google do like profiling people. Personally I don't even use Google for search, their recommendations, sorry search results, are dependent on my previous searches.

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Life goes on...

            And there are other MSPs who offer paid for services without the data leaching. They're not expensive - even for a Yorkshireman.

            In fact the only gmail address I use is the one that takes incoming mail from a website contacts page and, because it's a group's page, not mine, it needs to be separate from my private MSP account. And good luck to Google monetising whatever they search from that.

            Bottom line, there are many options for communicating with others. Selecting one that rewards toxicity, even if your own use isn't toxic, is a matter of choice, maybe even a matter for your conscience.

          2. MachDiamond Silver badge

            Re: Life goes on...

            Google really doesn't like it if you use TOR. DDG, on the other hand, has an Onion address.

    2. Manx Cat

      Damn!

      I would have cancelled my account before you, except I don't have one.

      Apart from the shadow account that the Zuck has for the entire planet...<insert swearing>

  11. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Efficiency or hubris?

    "Efficiency had won over redundancy."

    Zuck has made his position clear - everyone should use Facebook for communication with each other. Perhaps this was taken literally which mean there was no communication network other than Facebook's. No back-channel to manage the infrastructure. If you think you're all the communication the world needs why would there be?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Efficiency or hubris?

      Except it was widely reported some time back that Zuck himself is in fact a Signal user.

      Signal groups work as well as Whatsapp groups IME and video calling is ok too. One wonders whether that was the medium used to organize the recovery.

  12. Howard Sway Silver badge

    The worst case that never happens, happened

    The worst case that never happens, always happens eventually.

    Unfortunately that also happens to society too. Time to press the off switch permanently. And let whoever replaces it know that if they facilitate the undermining of democracy, knowingly profit from violence and organised disinformation or behave in ruthlessly anticompetitive behaviour then the off switch will be activated there too.

  13. ThatOne Silver badge
    Flame

    Rant!

    > There are lots and lots of small businesses that rely on Facebook pages to talk to their customers

    That's one of the unforgivable crimes in my eyes. Force me to use Facebook to communicate with you, just because you're lazy? No, I'd rather not do business with you, as you're clearly lazy, selfish and generally unreliable.

    Setting up a one-page web site with some kind of contact form is something everybody can do, most of the time for free (everybody has a computer-obsessed nephew). Proof is everybody (including tiny mom and pop stores) already managed to do it just fine all those years before the great Zuckerisation.

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Rant!

      Yes, if they rely on faecebook then the problem is entirely of their own making.

      1. ThatOne Silver badge
        Flame

        Re: Rant!

        > the problem is entirely of their own making

        That's true, but in the meanwhile the problem is mine. I'm the one being told "You want access to that information? Get a Facebook account!"...

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: Rant!

          I'm the one being told "You want access to that information? Get a Facebook account!"..

          I don't find that a problem. Just respond with "goodbye".

          1. ThatOne Silver badge

            Re: Rant!

            > I don't find that a problem. Just respond with "goodbye".

            Depends on what it is you're looking after. Sometimes you can just go to the competition (assuming they aren't on Facebook too), but sometimes it's the only place you can get that specific information, information you need to get on with your everyday life (disaster control comes to mind).

            Arrogance might be fun and fulfilling, but it isn't a solution to everything.

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Rant!

          You want access to that information? Get a Facebook account!"...

          You want me to get a Facebook account? Get another customer.

  14. LDS Silver badge

    Lack of interoperability = single point of failure

    I've no compassion for business using Facebook to host their web pages, also I do not make any business with them since every time I land on such pages I'm asked to access them with a Facebook account I don't have nor I'm going to have.

    Nor I have any compassion with people dependant Whatsapp and similar services designed as silos without any interoperability to work as cages to keep people locked in. I still use phone calls, SMS and emails because I'm not bound to a single provider and I can reach anyone from anything because of INTEROPERABILITY.

    My internet provider is different from my mobile one to reduce the risk a single outage will cut me from everything. Why should I use a single provider for web hosting and messaging - no matter how big?

    If people need to learn this the this the hard way, this outages are only welcome. I didn't notice any disruption - all of my communication means kept on working.

    1. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: Lack of interoperability = single point of failure

      "I do not make any business with them since every time I land on such pages I'm asked to access them with a Facebook account I don't have nor I'm going to have."

      I edited my host files so all links I click that go to FB are routed to 127.0.0.1. A huge number of Google URLs do the same thing.

  15. This post has been deleted by its author

  16. werdsmith Silver badge

    Take a stand you spineless wimps. Delete your faecebook accounts and do the world a huge favour. It's really not that important and you will live (better) without it.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "Delete your faecebook accounts"

      Sorry, won't can't.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Can't?

        You can. All it takes is the willpower.

        Willpower to kick an addiction. FB is as we all know, highly addictive. Kick the habit. Delete your account and get on with life one day at a time like any former addict.

        1. Stoneshop Silver badge
          Facepalm

          All it takes is the willpower.

          Not only.

          You have to have one in the first place to be able to delete it.

          Doctor Syntax is probably unable to delete theirs for the same reason I can't, and that reason is clarified in the previous sentence.

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Can't?

          "You can. All it takes is the willpower."

          You're right. I don't have the willpower to set up an account so I can cancel it.

  17. John70

    Never felt a thing. Anything I do doesn't involve Facebook.

    1. StrangerHereMyself Bronze badge

      I doubt there are many people who don't use Facebooks' WhatsApp for their day-to-day communications.

      Facebook is a nice to have, but WhatsApp is almost a utility

  18. adam 40 Silver badge

    I wonder how many lives were saved?

    Probably a few dozen teenage girls didn't commit suicide during this 6-hour outage, and who knows, might survive to this day...

    1. Daedalus Silver badge

      Re: I wonder how many lives were saved?

      From a certain point of view, Facebook et al represent the ultimate Revenge of a Nerd.

      Zuck created Facesmash, which was clearly designed to denigrate girls by comparing their pictures to animals. Classic behavior from the nerd who can't get laid. Now his creation is destroying women everywhere.

  19. Snowy Silver badge
    Mushroom

    I do not

    hate myself enough to use Facebook.

    1. yetanotheraoc

      Re: I do not

      Start using FaceBook, you will hate yourself more -- that's by design, FaceBook has done the research to show it's working as intended -- all your problems then sorted!

      1. Snowy Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: I do not

        LOL

        I'm white a man and over 50 there is lots there for Facebook to work on.

  20. yetanotheraoc

    Login with FaceBook

    Nobody is talking about the anti-feature "Login with FaceBook", probably because nobody on this forum would ever use such a thing. But, correct me if I am wrong, the typical FaceBook user *does* use this. And when FaceBook went down, undoubtedly a lot of them were unable to login to a lot of services which had nothing to do with FaceBook. What was the global impact of that? It was more than just FaceBook employees locked out of buildings.

    1. Dinanziame Silver badge

      Re: Login with FaceBook

      Indeed, I was unable to play one of the casual games on my phone because its backup data is stored on Facebook... And that was about it for me.

      I understand that in third world countries, there are businesses that do all their sales on Facebook though

      1. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: Login with FaceBook

        "I understand that in third world countries, there are businesses that do all their sales on Facebook though"

        I think there is a good definition that can be derived from that sentence.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Login with FaceBook

      A useful learning experience for them.

  21. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    Big Brother

    I see a lot of

    hate for farcebork

    The best way to charactorise it is as a pub with several billion people in it.

    Into which are injected the screaming 'end is nigh' loonies (and other assorted nutters) that many pubs are inflicted with.

    The way to enlightenment is education. to tell people that what you read on farcebork is not the truth.... and could well be a bunch of lies designed to make you vote for a particular loonatic (or party of them judging by the contents of the US republican party)

    I've read one right wing nutjob (and thats the only phrase I can think of that fits them) claiming covid vaccinations r bad m'ok and that taking horse dewormer will keep you safe because vaccines are made by big pharma (horse dewormer is also made by big pharma but hey we're not into facts here).

    Until people are educated to take the above with a decent skeptical eye, farcebork will remain the cesspool of mis-information that its always been

    Me? I'll carry on using it as most of my friends are in the states /aussie and you seen the price of phone calls?

    But what to do about it? make farcebork responsible for what is published on it, just as the regular printed press is (apart from weekly world news... that always carries the truth.. there IS a B-52 on the moon and Elvis is alive damnit!)

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: I see a lot of

      "The best way to charactorise it is as a pub with several billion people in it."

      Some of whom are apt to spill out onto the street fighting. The sort of pu bbest avoided.

  22. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Do they still do those fuckin' games?

    I used to be on FB ages ago, then it started hammering me to join my friend's mafia-wars or farmland or jewelybits or whatever.

    I'm talking about dozens and dozens of messages, completely swamping the actual information and content.

    So I found the pref that said "please don't hammer me to join my friend's mafia-wars or farmland or jewelybits or whatever, I don't want to see that stuff, thank you"

    I still got hammered. I looked to see I'd actually set that preference. It was. So I deleted my FB account.

  23. 45RPM Silver badge

    I wish I could believe that this outage is a harbinger of a future, permanent, outage. But I don’t buy it. People love social networks. People love the convenient tap on a high pressure hose of hate and spite, a tap that they can drink their fill from whenever they like. That businesses use it too is purely incidental.

    Facebook will prosper because it is convenient, it has gamified bullying, because people are stupid and don’t want to have to work out what is wrong with the world, and what might be done to fix it. Facebook spares them the chore of using their brains by providing them with a never ending stream of memes, glib quotes, and people to hate. There is no nuance. There is a narrative of people to root for and people to hate.

    Facebook will be around for a long time yet, and me wishing that it could just be shut down is just that. A wish.

  24. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Hosts file?

    They should probably have some hosts files (/etc/hosts) at least for some internal systems, that would help a lot with DNS failures and routing failures (depending on how severe they are.) Or at least have some key IP addresses written down in some key locations (on paper, in case the list is eletonicaly stored somewhere that becomes inaccessible) so if DNS or routing go down they have addresses for the name servers and routers.

  25. pavel.petrman

    Think what would happen if Google had a total service outage like that

    Oh what a blessing that would be. The ignorant masses would at long last understand the immense portion of their lives now belonging to one company, and the rest would be able to open a web page in their browser without an octacore processor maxing out under the load of Google's bloatware present in all but few web pages.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The problem is that every alternative to either Facebook or Twitter has become infested with QAnon MAGA-hat-wearing soi-disant "patriots" who seem to think that every discussion, even in groups that are basically just cat pictures, should have some element that steers people towards their latest political "hot take".

    As bad as FB and Twitter are - and that's bad - there really aren't many viable alternatives at the moment, sadly.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "It is a social network, and nothing but, and users can rebuild that social interaction on a different platform in weeks."

    Gab, "Fred", and TFRFT (the Facebook replacement from Trump*) would like a word.

    *launching early 2021

  28. Daedalus Silver badge

    Think again

    Facebook may be a cesspit run by a demon, but it did one thing. It made connecting with other people easy. As in very very easy. That's why businesses came to depend on it. There was no gatekeeping, and no funny features that took a genius to figure out. When you see some of the crap that went before, that still persists in some areas, you understand what a difference Facebook made. Getting rid of Zuck's monsterpiece won't solve any problems and will create many more.

    The good news is that like most monopolies, Facebook is getting close to the point where it falls flat on its face. This is being noted by analysts already.

  29. StrangerHereMyself Bronze badge

    Disconcerting

    I find it disconcerting that a internet giant could disappear off the internet completely by a seemingly small configuration mistake.

    Most likely hackers and malevolent intelligence agencies will take note of this.

  30. willyslick

    Small businesses use FB for free? Whenever I as a hardcore facebook-avoider accidentally land on such a "free" FB website, I hightail it the other direction as fast as I can before FB plants a cookie or other evil bot on my trail, so I don't see that content. Wonder how many other act similarly.....?

    Just get a normal website and we can gladly do business together.

  31. ABehrens

    Six hours?

    It would be more accurate to say that the planet survived for 4.5 billion years without Facebook. And did quite well at that, if you discount the last few millennia.

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