It’s addictive! People ‘too dependent’ on Facebook for scandal to affect site’s popularity

Twitter reacts to Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp outages

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Last Monday Mark Zuckerberg’s firm – which also includes Instagram and Whatsapp – went down for just under seven hours after a bungled update crashed the platforms. Then former employee turned whistleblower Frances Haugen told the US Senate that Facebook’s products “harm children, stoke division and weaken our democracy”.

Mr Zuckerberg hit back, insisting that the latest accusations were at odds with the company’s goals.

News of both of the incidents dominated the news agenda for much of the week – leading to speculation that it could cause long-term damage to the firm which claims to have 2.7 billion monthly active users.

David Glenwright, a social media trainer and consultant at JC Social Media, dismissed these claims and believes we are unlikely to see any “real drop” in its popularity.

He told “Our dependence on it is so vast that it will take more than it being out for a single evening for people to consider shifting over.

“The effort of not using Facebook and using something else is so big that it would take a multi-day outage.

“For some people it would have been a bit of a jolt to make them think ‘oh maybe I should back this up’.

“Or have another way of communicating with my mum who I only speak to on Whatsapp.

“But I don’t think we will see any major impact on the number of users. I don’t think we’ll see any drop off like that.”

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Mr Glenwright who is accredited by Facebook but independent of the site, said that to Facebook’s “credit” it has become an “essential” part of many people’s lives over the past 10 to 15 years.

This reliance that many people have on it – whether it be as an archive for family photos or to help run a small business – will be hard to kick, he explained.

He also spoke about the “genuine and growing problem – particularly among younger people” of social media addiction.

“It’s not limited to Facebook – it goes across all social media platforms,” he added.

“It is a real problem because social media platforms are very carefully curated – everything you see is there for a calculated reason.

“It can sometimes create false narratives.”

Matthew Huddleston, runs social media firm Superviral helps users boost their interaction through real Instagram followers and likes, and agreed with many of Mr Glenwright’s comments.

He revealed that often younger people can obsess about how many likes a photo has when this is not always an accurate indicator.

He added: “Social media is filled with bots so a post could have thousands of likes but that doesn’t mean anywhere near that number of people have actually liked the photo.”

In a letter to staff, Mr Zuckerberg said many of the claims were “illogical” and pointed to Facebook’s efforts to fight harmful content.

“We care deeply about issues like safety, well-being and mental health,” he said in the letter, made public on his Facebook page.

“It’s difficult to see coverage that misrepresents our work and our motives.”

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