BROOKFIELD, Wis. — Just one day after a whistleblower unveiled her identity on 60 Minutes, Facebook suffered a major outage that lasted as long as 7 hours.
On Sunday, Frances Haugen spoke with the news program and claimed the tech giant put profits over public safety. “Facebook has realized that if they change the algorithm to be safer, people will spend less time on the site. They'll click on less ads, they'll make less money,” said Haugen.
TMJ4 News spoke with a Brookfield, Wisconsin cybersecurity expert about the outage. "The internet is an incredibly fragile place," explained Michael Vieau of Sikich, LLC.
He says the fact that Facebook and its associated apps Instagram and What’s App were all down leads him to believe the company was not a target of a cyberattack. “The fact that they are all taken down leads me to believe something internal has happened," said Vieau.
Vieau says it could be anything from an accidental programming issue to an internal hack or attack by an employee. He says it is unusual how long the sites were down for, but believes Facebook may have done this purposefully to control the problem. “Stop the bleeding, let’s see if we can find the wound and correct it,” Vieau said of the outage.
The internet was busy Monday with rumors the outage had something to do with the 60 Minutes interview. “We can conspiracy theory it all day long, there’s all sorts of twists and turns that we could say yes it could be linked to it, it could not be linked to it,” said Vieau.
C-Net estimates Facebook lost more than $60 million from the outage. The company’s stock also closed down 5% after the interview and outage.