Friday, 2024 March 1

Daily Digest | Message not sent

Hi there. It’s Brady.

If you’re reading this, then there’s a good chance that you slept through the Great Facebook Outage of 2021. The fact is most of the people who were affected by WhatsApp, Instagram, and Messenger going down were outside of Asia.

For the most part, people in South and Southeast Asia griped about not being able to use these apps at night. Some switched over to Telegram or Signal to keep their conversations going. It was an inconvenience, but not one that was detrimental to existing patterns of communication and behavior.

However, this episode was enough to spook people in Myanmar. Understandably, the downtime brought back memories of the February coup, when telcos blocked access to social media platforms to prevent the organization of meaningful opposition to military rule.

The broader question that is on our minds, and perhaps yours too, is this: should one company control so much of our communications infrastructure? While options are available, the fact is Facebook’s platforms are incredibly popular, and that only encourages people who are coming online for the first time to use them too.

Khamila had the story, with an assist from Stephanie. You can read it here.

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