Big tech billionaire Mark Zuckerberg has lost more than $6 billion in just a handful of hours since his tech empire's websites (including Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp) all crashed midday on Monday, October 4, 2021, according to an initial report.
Surprisingly, this isn't a massive loss for one of the world's most wealthy men. Ultimately, the loss brought his wealth to $117 billion in total. Interested in knowing exactly how low (or high) that is? He’s now the world’s sixth richest person. For comparison, Jeff Bezos, was worth $185.8 billion, as of Q1 2021.
The 'tech glitch' that dwarfed whistleblower fallout
This gigantic loss for Zuckerberg may not seem so gigantic in these contexts. Nonetheless, it has kicked him down the list of the world's richest people, and it comes in the wake of a whistleblower's allegations about the company's conduct, which have already thrown the company into turmoil.
Just this week, a whistleblower handed a trove of documents to the United States Congress, the Securities Exchange Commission, and various news outlets about the practices at Facebook. Frances Haugen, a former product manager in Facebook's now-disbanded Civic Integrity Unit, appeared on 60 Minutes and revealed her identity, saying things were "substantially worse at Facebook than anything I'd seen before." Her goal in coming forward? To "fix the company, not harm it."
"When we realized tobacco companies were hiding the harms it caused, the government took action. When we figured out cars were safer with seatbelts, the government took action," said Haugen's written testimony to be delivered to a Senate Commerce subcommittee, in a report from Reuters. "I implore you to do the same here."
But it seems a standard tech glitch may have caused more harm than any whistleblower could have imagined.
Facebook and Instagram are restored after five hours' outage
Just before 6:00 PM EDT, Facebook and Instagram were restored after an outage that lasted more than five hours. As the crisis continued, an alleged Facebook "recovery team" employee said the outage probably stemmed from a configuration attempt gone wrong, while Twitter users shared their suspicions about Facebook's self-owned registrar master key being deleted, effectively removing Facebook from the web. But with service returning to Facebook and its subsidiaries, the most interesting steps in the story of corporate calamity surely lie ahead, as the businesses involved take account of the damage, and potentially adapt to prevent it from happening again. At least, anytime soon.
This was a breaking story and was regularly updated as new information became available.