Billions of users were frustrated by not being able to see their images on Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp this week due to glitches in Facebook’s platform, which was triggered by “routine maintenance.”.
Instead of pictures and videos, users were shown grey boxes with text describing what was in the image. This is believed to be the company’s image analysis software.
This outage isn’t the only downfall for Facebook-owned companies. In March, Facebook and Instagram suffered their longest period of disruption in its history. The 14-hour outage was sparked by a server configuration, according to the company.
Speaking on its latest outage, the company tweeted: “We’re aware that some people are having trouble uploading or sending images, videos and other files on our apps. We’re sorry for the trouble and are working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible. #facebookdown.
“Earlier today, some people and businesses experienced trouble uploading or sending images, videos and other files on our apps and platforms. The issue has since been resolved and we should be back at 100% for everyone. We’re sorry for any inconvenience.” However, some users continued to complain of not being able to see images following.
Other companies also faced outages this week. Cloudflare was brought down by a “bad software deployment” while users have complained that Apple’s iCloud has also been down.
However, users also noticed that their images were being tagged, which was the result of the company’s artificial intelligence image analysis. The description of these images is meant to support visually impaired users, however, some users couldn’t help but feel ‘creeped out’ by seeing how accurate the description of the image was.
For Facebook, though, the damage might have been done from the outage. According to Bigbom, a decentralized advertising ecosystem company, Downdetector processed over 7.5 million reports from end users during the outage. Interestingly, the company tweeted that this latest outage was the “company’s biggest one” in years.
How the outage affected advertisers who use the platform is unknown, but Bigbom believes thousands of dollars in ad revenue would have been lost.
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Waterfield, Phee (2019) Facebook, Instagram & WhatApp Outage Reveals AI Image Tags. Recovered on 26 July 2019 from https://www.infosecurity-magazine.com/news/facebook-instagram-whatapp-outage/