Here we go again.
It looks like Mark Zuckerberg's websites are having trouble again, including Messenger, Instagram's messaging function, and other Facebook services, according to a tweet from Messenger.
While not everyone is affected, this does not bode well on the bright future described during Zuckerberg's big brand pivot announcement, made last week.
Facebook Messenger, Workplace Chat, and Instagram DMs went down
On Wednesday, DownDetector revealed that Instagram, Facebook (now called "Meta"), and Messenger were all experiencing widespread issues. Social media users didn't shy away from expressing their frustrations about the latest Zuckerberg outage on Twitter. "Kinda assumed I broke my Messenger & IG inboxes until I searched 'Messenger down' on Twitter," wrote one user in a tweet. Many other takes employed the high art of memes to describe the experience, including a perfect "Grand Theft Auto" reference. Facebook spared no time in acknowledging the error (by genuine concern or habit, we can't say): "No, your wifi isn't out," read the tweet from Messenger. "We're working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible. #messengerdown".
Later, a "Meta" spokesperson (no pun intended) said the company was confronting issues with its communication platforms, in a Gizmodo report. "We're aware that some people are having trouble accessing Messenger, Workplace Chat and Instagram DMs," read a statement sent to Gizmodo. "We're working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible and we apologize for any inconvenience." This comes on the heels of the biggest social media outage in a decade, when all of Facebook and its related services completely vanished from the internet in October, thanks to a "faulty configuration change" in a seldom-mentioned but terribly crucial routing protocol, called Border Gateway Protocol (BGP).
Meta's face recognition algorithm will end, but the underlying AI will remain
Beyond Facebook ("Meta") outages, Mark Zuckerberg's social media empire also faces issues that can't be fixed with code, alone. On Tuesday, Facebook announced it would shut down its Face Recognition algorithms in the coming weeks, according to a company statement. Unofficially, this looked like a direct response to nearly a decade of mounting concerns surrounding the ethics of user privacy in a time of unprecedented wealth and growth for Big Tech companies. Privacy advocates in both the U.S. and the E.U. have staunchly opposed the expansion of face recognition on social media platforms like Facebook, where more than one billion users remain.
As Meta slides into Facebook's place, the rebranded company will delete more than one billion face recognition templates it had developed for everyone who opted-in to the service. But not everyone is convinced of Meta-Face's resolve. Researcher of Social and Political effects of artificial intelligence Kate Crawford questioned the authenticity of Zuckerberg's move, arguing that his company is keeping DeepFace, "the model that is trained on all" user faces. And she's not wrong: "the company has also not ruled out incorporating facial recognition into future products," read the Tuesday press release from the company. There's no telling what Meta will do with its DeepFace AI, but with outages continuing, chances are good that the added chaos will give privacy advocates a shot at pushing for an answer.
This was a breaking story and was regularly updated as new information became available.