“Hello to everyone!”. This was the most prominent post of this week by Twitter itself, which on Monday mocked the malfunction of Facebook and its network of social platforms, knowing that in those hours the whole world was browsing this application.
The shutdown of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp for about 6 hours, had a significant impact on the lives of people all over the world. The truth is that in one way or another, our society has become dependent on the services provided by Facebook and the social networks that gravitate to its orbit.
And not just for work. “WhatsApp, Messenger and other platforms are often the only ways people have to stay in touch with family,” wrote The Independent. In a way, our daily lives are dictated by the instant communication provided by Facebook.
But at the same time, the internet we are currently relying on is extremely “fragile”, says Adrien Lafrans, chief executive of The Atlantic, which has been dealing with Mark Zuckerberg’s company for years, with its dark sides and problems. her.
“The web is not only fragile, it is very transient. We have the impression that these network giants are destined to exist forever. But on the Internet nothing lasts and sooner or later everything breaks down, collapses. This is something that happens constantly. “Although we had not seen such a serious interruption until now” – she writes.
The consequences of Monday’s disruption could have significant side effects on the cultural and social levels. platform. Then there are the economic consequences: Those who use these platforms for work become less productive due to disruption to many activities. For example, in digital marketing it is not possible to maintain a similar productivity.
Of course, our relationship with social media is not just about work or addiction in a negative sense. Posting photos, articles, thoughts, helps us to interact with others, make connections, deepen our narratives and relationships.
Everyone’s relationship with social media is somewhere in between, between addiction and social utility. “We can draw at least one lesson from this event: moderation is the only way to overcome this global obsession. “Doing it without social media would not be possible, but even immersing yourself in it is not the best approach,” says The Independent.
The fragility of the network, and ours together with it, lead us to the most delicate chapter of this debate: security. The size and control that Facebook has over an entire network of platforms used by billions of users around the world can pose a risk in itself.
Monday’s event should at least remind us that the empire built and expanded by Zuckerberg can be a source of problems for our society, for democracy, for humanity. Not just when it falls. But even when it is online. We still do not know if what happened was a hacker attack – tracking still seems impossible – but it is disturbing that the temporary cessation of a single company was able to affect the network as a whole.
MSNBC issued an alarm signal through an article by columnist Tiffany C. Lee: “The more we use cross-cutting technologies, the greater our security risks will be.” Li points out that the Internet is an ecosystem based on a worldwide network of underwater cables and servers scattered here and there, so it is very easy to forget the fact that the Internet is not just an abstract thing: its physical infrastructure exists and it is very important.
Most of the time, we are focused on the dangers posed by Big Tech, understood as problems of a cultural nature, or as problems of protection of personal information and data – of course problems that have existed and will continue to exist.
Meanwhile, the internet infrastructure seems much less interesting and important.
But that’s probably why we need to invest more to protect it.
“Information security is an integral part of the national security of any country, and the internet infrastructure is a critical infrastructure. It is therefore important to invest in expanding broadband access and fiber optics. The pandemic has shown us how essential internet access is, and it is a shame that so many people do not yet have internet access. “Internet access is a human right, and investing in Internet infrastructure can help us protect that right for all.”
It would also be important for all countries to invest more in cybersecurity and technology, to train more cyber security professionals in institutions, and to have more students and researchers working on the issue.
And then there would obviously be a need for policies that support the technology industry, and alternative ways must be created to ensure the continuity of certain services: a point in favor of those who support regulatory measures to support greater competition in the space of network.
“The time has come to think of a public internet, as an alternative to our current company-dominated internet sector. A better internet is possible. “It’s never too late to start,” concludes the MSNBC article. / “Linkiesta” – Bota.al
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