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Facebook’s ‘Digital Colonialism’ Made Monday’s Outage a Crisis for the World

– Huffington Post

The true cost of Facebook’s outage for countries that depend on communication apps

Users of Facebook, and its sister apps, WhatsApp and Instagram, experienced an outage which, while a minor inconvenience for most, caused significant problems for countries where WhatsApp monopolizes communication, and is an essential tool used for work, running businesses, communicating with loved ones, and even governmental services.

“Still largely an afterthought in the United States, WhatsApp has grown into one of the world’s most vital communications services. More than 2 billion people ― 1 in 4 people on the planet ― use it. Brazil and India alone are home to nearly one-quarter of them.”

The outage has pushed further discussion to dismantle the apps due to numerous concerns with it. As they are privately-owned enterprises, dependent users are at the hands of the owners. The apps have also been accused of “digital colonialism” as they have introduced initiatives that would monopolize the internet market.

The case that WhatsApp operates like an entity that should be subject to at least some public accountability and regulation seems clearer-cut: It’s hard to argue that a communications app whose failure can disrupt the entire world’s ability to communicate is merely an app, rather than something with a bit more responsibility to consumers and society

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