Following Facebook outage, Richmonders reevaluate relationship with social media

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Posted at 9:50 PM, Oct 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-05 21:50:13-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Some Richmonders are taking a second look at their social media use patterns after Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp experienced massive outages on Monday.

Facebook apologized for Monday's hours-long outage.

"We apologize to all those affected, and we’re working to understand more about what happened today so we can continue to make our infrastructure more resilient," Facebook’s VP of Infrastructure, Santosh Janardhan.

Janardhan also stated that the outage was caused by a "'faulty configuration change," and there is no evidence that data was compromised.

VCU Associate Professor Dr. Jeanine Guidry says she learned of the outages when her family who lives in the Netherlands started texting her.

"We keep in touch through WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger," Guidry said.

Guidry is someone who studies social media and said it was interesting to watch unfold as some people saw negative impacts like a loss of communication with family and the inability for businesses to communicate with their customers.

"They couldn't do their job because their job in large part depends on advertising and connecting via social media platforms," Guidry said.

On the positive side, some people got an unplanned break that may have helped them realize just how much time they spend on social media.

Richmond Health Director Dr. Danny Avula said that he stays away from social media for the reasons highlighted by Monday's outing and its potential impacts on people's relationships and mental health, especially as those who are young are especially vulnerable.

"I think we need to continue to dig in and figure out how can youth children be able to use social media in ways that are healthier?" Avula said.

Guidry said that as with other forms of technology, social media comes with ups and downs. She recommends that people use Monday's events to assess their connection with it and make any changes they see are needed.

"Checking our own habits a little bit, it's not a bad thing to do," Guidry said.



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