Flat on its Facebook

I’m almost feeling sorry for Facebook considering the month they’re enduring. First, was whistleblower Francis Haugen’s revelation of internal Instagram research detailing the serious emotional harm their platform is doing to teenagers.

Then, the six hour, global service outage that crashed not only Facebook, but their other properties including Instagram, WhatsApp and even Oculus VR. 

Read all about it!

The headlines have not been kind to Facebook:

The Atlantic – Facebook is fragile

Mashable – Facebook and Instagram go down the day after whistleblower goes public

The Verge – Twitter is up, Facebook is down and Jack Dorsey (CEO of Twitter) is laughing

To add insult to injury, Facebook was only up for a few days before another database configuration error brought it all down again, prompting Brian Barrett from WIRED to write an instruction manual for deleting your Facebook account permanently.

Is it Facebook’s fault they keep falling flat on their face? Not entirely. Yes, Facebook does a great job of hurting themselves by continuing to place profit above the safety and security of their users as revealed by Frances Haugen.  However, I believe the real cause of Facebook’s outage problems is centralization –  also known as The Cloud.

Get your Head out of the Clouds

Joe Tidy of the BBC interviewed some of the leading experts regarding Internet architecture in Why does the Internet keep breaking? They all agree, the World Wide Web was never designed to be centralized, or cleaved into massive walled gardens that provide billions of users access to multiple services. 

In fact, pretty much everything you do online is centralized on servers in The Cloud. This makes every service and every database shockingly vulnerable to an outage, hacking or even Government interference. Your data can be blocked, lost, stolen or disabled in any number of ways because there is only one official version of Facebook running on a server somewhere, one official version of Google Drive, one official version of everything you use every day.

And that is the point of centralization. Running one official version of a piece of software is inexpensive and makes it much easier to collect, analyze and sell your personal preferences, data and identity. It’s called Surveillance Capitalism and it makes Big Tech Billions of dollars each month. Centralization is the grand design that makes it all possible.

Start Making Sense

It seems to me that running several different versions of a critical piece of software might be more expensive, but the inherent upside is that a crash or debilitating hack of one version would never impact any other. So how many versions are necessary? A dozen, a hundred, a thousand? How about five billion? That would be ideal from an individual user’s security standpoint, but not if the provider’s intention is to squirrel everyone’s data into one location in a consistent format to enable constant exploitation and astronomical profit.

If we all created, controlled and owned our own versions of Facebook, Instagram and What’s App, it would be far less likely that the entire world would lose access to services. The Internet was intended and designed as a decentralized communication system, but has devolved into centralized, privately-controlled profit centres. 

Now is the time for a paradigm shift. The Peer Social Foundation has a solution. Manyone returns power and control to the individual user. A self-sovereign messaging and social media app designed for a decentralized future. And with five billion private versions.