Rocked by longest Facebook outage and whistleblower revelations, Mark Zuckerberg loses $7 bn in hours

The stock slide on Monday sent Zuckerberg’s worth down to $121.6 billion, dropping him below Bill Gates to number 5 on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index

Rocked by longest Facebook outage and whistleblower revelations, Mark Zuckerberg loses $7 bn in hours

File image of Mark Zuckerberg. Getty Images

A damning whistleblower account and outages that hit Facebook Inc’s flagship products such as WhatsApp and Instagram have led to a decline in Mark Zuckerberg’s personal wealth by more than $7 billion in a few hours, knocking him down a notch on the list of the world’s richest people.

A selloff sent the social-media giant’s stock plummeting 4.9 percent on Monday, adding to a drop of about 15 percent since mid-September, Bloomberg reported.
The stock slide on Monday sent Zuckerberg’s worth down to $121.6 billion, dropping him below Bill Gates to number 5 on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. He’s down from almost $140 billion in a matter of weeks, according to the index.

On 13 September, the Wall Street Journal began publishing a series of stories based on a cache of internal documents, revealing that Facebook knew about a wide range of problems with its products such as Instagram’s harm to teenage girls’ mental health and misinformation about the 6 January Capitol riots while downplaying the issues in public.

The reports have drawn the attention of government officials, and on Monday, the whistleblower revealed herself.

In response, Facebook has emphasized that the issues facing its products, including political polarisation, are complex and not caused by technology alone. “I think it gives people comfort to assume that there must be a technological or a technical explanation for the issues of political polarisation in the United States,” Nick Clegg, Facebook’s vice president of global affairs, told CNN.

Meanwhile, the Facebook Chief Executive apologised on Tuesday following the six-hour social media outage that affected Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp.In a post on Facebook, Zuckerberg said the social media platforms were coming back to normal. “Sorry for the disruption today; I know how much you rely on our services to stay connected with the people you care about,” he wrote.

Facebook and its WhatsApp and Instagram apps went dark at around noon Eastern time [1600 GMT], in what website monitoring group Downdetector said was the largest such failure it had ever seen. Around 5:45 pm ET [0045 GMT], some users began to regain partial access to the three apps.

The outage was the second blow to the social media giant in as many days after a whistleblower on Sunday accused the company of repeatedly prioritising profit over clamping down on hate speech and misinformation.

The error message on Facebook’s webpage suggested an error in the Domain Name System [DNS], which allows web addresses to take users to their destinations. A similar outage at cloud company Akamai Technologies Inc took down multiple websites in July.

Several Facebook employees who declined to be named said that they believed that the outage was caused by an internal routing mistake to an internet domain that was compounded by the failures of internal communication tools and other resources that depend on that same domain in order to work.