Yesterday Sucked For Facebook…. The Platform Went Down And A Criminal Investigation Popped Up

Mark Zuckerberg and company must be wondering what hit them yesterday. First Facebook went down for about 14 hours yesterday taking WhatsApp and Instagram with it. Now that 14 hour figure may not apply to everyone as some people are still reporting issues accessing Facebook related platforms. And of course frustrated users went to Twitter to vent, but that’s not the real story. The real story is the length of the outage. Previous outages were short. Maybe lasting two or three hours. 14 hours is going to tick off users and advertisers. The latter may be ticked enough to take their dollars elsewhere which is not good for Facebook.

However, as bad as that is, The New York Times is reporting that Facebook is under a criminal investigation:

Federal prosecutors are conducting a criminal investigation into data deals Facebook struck with some of the world’s largest technology companies, intensifying scrutiny of the social media giant’s business practices as it seeks to rebound from a year of scandal and setbacks.

A grand jury in New York has subpoenaed records from at least two prominent makers of smartphones and other devices, according to two people who were familiar with the requests and who insisted on anonymity to discuss confidential legal matters. Both companies had entered into partnerships with Facebook, gaining broad access to the personal information of hundreds of millions of its users.

The companies were among more than 150, including Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and Sony, that had cut sharing deals with the world’s dominant social media platform. The agreements, previously reported in The New York Times, let the companies see users’ friends, contact information and other data, sometimes without consent. Facebook has phased out most of the partnerships over the past two years.

Facebook being criminally charged in the US could be an extinction level event for the company as I honestly don’t see how they could survive something like that. You can also bet that other jurisdictions in the US and beyond are likely doing the same thing. Which means that Facebook may finally be getting the beat down that it long deserves.

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