Facebook’s Very Bad, No Good Week: What It Means for Privacy, and How to Make Things Better

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On 5 October, Mark Zuckerberg sent a note to Facebook employees, beginning: “Hey everyone: it’s been quite a week, and I wanted to share some thoughts with all of you.” That’s something of an understatement in the wake of not one, but two, devastating blows to the company, both with important implications for privacy. The first was an outage of unprecedented seriousness. All Facebook’s apps – Facebook, Instragram, WhatsApp, Messenger and Oculus – began displaying error messages, and then Facebook disappeared entirely from the Internet. It wasn’t just every public app, but all Facebook’s internal systems stopped working too – scheduling tools, internal communications, security systems, and calendaring. Some people couldn’t even enter Facebook offices and conference rooms because their digital badges stopped working.

However logical it might have seemed at the time, creating that internal monoculture was clearly ill-advised, since it meant that when Facebook’s main system was down, everything was down. A note by Facebook engineering explains exactly what happened. But for many

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