This morning, Facebook and Instagram, two of the most used social networking platforms worldwide went down for around an hour. Although Facebook has been down many times in the past, but this was perhaps the longest duration downtime.
Shortly after 9:40 AM Afghanistan time, Facebook and Instagram went inaccessible. With almost 1 million users in Afghanistan, Facebook is the most used social media platform in Afghanistan, and that means for about one hour, around 1 million Afghan Facebook users couldn’t check and update their Facebooks.
Most people believe that these days social media, especially Facebook have become a strong and useful part of their daily lives. And on the other hand, there are some people who are worried about the overuse of social media. But none of these groups of people can deny the fact that Facebook has been a powerful tool in changing the way news is circulated among people. And of course the good part about social media, especially Facebook is that the people control this media. Traditional media, on the other hand, is controlled by certain groups, so they can decide what to tell the people. But as the people themselves provide the social media content, no one person or group decides what the people should read, share or think about.
If I talk about the benefits of social media, I could keep writing for long. But here I want to show you how the initial reactions were to Facebook downtime, especially by Afghan web users, which goes to show what impact the social networking site has on Afghanistan. Many took Twitter to express their shock, surprise, humour and even fears.
The first response – which was a worldwide reaction – was to create a hashtag. Twitter users started tweeting with the hashtag#FacebookDown. Within minutes, the hashtag was trending. Within minutes of my tweet asking people about the Facebook downtime, I started to get responses, some even from halfway across the world in Brazil, highlight the global nature of the issue.
— Omid Haqbin (@omidhq) January 27, 2015
A lot of Afghan users on Twitter took this seriously and thought Facebook may go down longer. They tweeted about the importance of Facebook in Afghanistan. For example in the tweet below you see a discussion between @raminanwari, @HTasala, and @Heelai_Noor. In this tweet Ramin says why he thinks Facebook is important.
— Ramin Anwari (@raminanwari) January 27, 2015
Here, @KawoonKhamoosh, who is a journalist himself for BBC, says how difficult it would be for Afghan Facebook users who spend most of their daily life on the site.
فكر مى كنم كه براى بيشتر كاربران افغان كه كل روز شان در فيسبوك مى گذرد، تحمل نداشتن لحظه اى دسترسى به فيسبوك چه دشوار باشد. #facebookdown
— Kawoon Khamoosh (@KawoonKhamoosh) January 27, 2015
The news about Facebook downtime intrigues so many. On my own Twitter timeline, I counted that 9 out of every 10 tweets were about Facebook. Interestingly, this isn’t the first time Facebook has been down. In 2014 alone, the social media giant witnessed at least 6 downtimes.
— Omid Haqbin (@omidhq) January 27, 2015
We all know that Facebook is not being used just for fun or reporting news. Even in Afghanistan some people are using it to do some official tasks as well. Like @daudhamidi114 tweeted, he was waiting for an important message.
Or @muhibshadan was making a report and needed Facebook to interview some people, but it went down.
— Muhib Shadan (@muhibshadan) January 27, 2015
But as always making fun of something on a social media platform was also witnessed. But if we look closely, we will see most of these jokes reflect a certain degree of reality and truth about the importance and impact of social media in our lives. For example here, @Heelai_Noor talked about rising productivity of offices when Facebook went down.
— Heelai Noor (@Heelai_Noor) January 27, 2015
Or this Afghan user who said: “During the time that Facebook went down, I sat down and talked with my family. They seemed to be social and nice people.”
And this Afghan user living in Australia is happy because he will receive no more Candy Crush invites.
Or this user has combined some Arabic words between his Dari tweets and prays for Facebook to come back. Most Muslims believe that God listens to Arabic better than other languages.
تبريك مى گم فيس بوك دون شده. براى ظهور دوباره فيس بوك همه با هم. يا من هو على ظهور الفيس بوق… #facebookdown
— Mohammad Bachan (@colstanli) January 27, 2015
Share your experiences of #Facebook downtime with us.