Mark Zuckerberg lost more than $6 billion of his personal wealth after the 6-hour collapse experienced on Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram yesterday, October 4. This brought him down from an appreciable height on the list of the world’s richest people according to forbes.
Yesterday outage was one of the longest nightmares Facebook and its services like WhatsApp and Instagram experienced. Facebook in a blog stated that the cause of the global collapse was a glitch in routers. Facebook has blamed the collapse on faulty configuration changes.
Hours prior to the collapse, a whistleblower came forward and disclosed her identity which also was alleged to be complicit in the collapse outage. In just a few hours, Zuckerberg’s personal wealth went down by over $6 billion.
According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, this has cost Zuckerberg the fifth position among billionaires. Now, he stands with $120.9 billion in sixth place, behind Bill Gates. Shares of Facebook plummeted about 5 per cent, adding to a 15 per cent drop since mid-September. The index also revealed that Zuckerberg is down from almost $140 billion in a matter of weeks.
His net-worth commenced plummeting after Wall Street Journal stated publishing a series of stories based on a cache of internal documents it obtained from a whistleblower, opening up that Facebook knew about a wide range of issues with its products such as Instagram’s harm to teenage girls, mental health and misinformation about the January 6 Capitol riots, while downplaying the issues in public.
The reports have drawn the attention of government officials, and on Monday, October 3, the whistleblower revealed herself. Frances Haugen, 37, revealed her identity after she applied for federal whistleblower protection. Haugen had presented internal documents that went to Congress, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and The Wall Street Journal.
She decided to reveal her identity and noted that Facebook realized that if they change the algorithm to be safer, people will spend less time on the site, and will click on fewer ads, making less money. It was Haugen who presented papers and information on Instagram being harmful to teenagers’ mental health that has led to the platform pausing Instagram Kids.
Responding to the claims, Facebook has emphasized that the issues facing its products, including political polarization, are complex and not caused by technology alone.
Nick Clegg, Facebook’s vice president of global affairs, told CNN;
“I think it gives people comfort to assume that there must be a technological or a technical explanation for the issues of political polarization in the United States.”