By Hussein Kiganda
‘Social media influencers’. It is one of the most powerful jobs since the advent of social media. They act like they are majority shareholders in Mark Zuckerberg’s business conglomerate and are untouchable. However, they were rendered useless for at least 10 hours when Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp were hacked.
Mark Zuckerberg might have lost $7b in that time the apps were down, but for the influencers and their cousins the WhatsApp Group admins; their egos were bruised and business lost. They are walking on egg shells and with current patterns, do they have job security? They were humbled.
In times like this, trust people to find humour around such situations. Brazilian footballer, Lucas Moura was the cream of the crop. In a self-deprecating Tweet after the situation turned to normal he tweeted, “With the Fall of WhatsApp and Instagram, I was able to talk a little with my wife. Very Nice person she is,”
In another Tweet that has gone viral, a man is cautioning an undercover lover not to come to his place since his wife is around. To his chagrin, the messages are not delivered due to the shutdown and the side chick shows up! You can bet it ended in tears thanks to the blackout.
Brittany DiCapua, a 28-year-old Instagram food influencer and blogger, said that she realized the site was down on Monday. At first, she thought it was just her account, but after texting other influencers, she realized that it was a widespread issue. “Some of us were joking that it was a ‘day off’ for us,” DiCapua said.
Facebook and its family of apps, including Instagram and WhatsApp, were inaccessible for hours on Monday, taking out a vital communications platform used by billions and showcasing just how dependent the world has become on a company that is under intense scrutiny.
For others the outage – affecting Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram – was less serious, with many taking to twitter to complain about losing access to their usual communication tools and having to make phone calls.
But the incident, which Facebook blamed on an internal technical issue, has exposed the reliance on social media tools in everyday life and the dominance of Facebook in particular.
Discussions of the outages were trending on Twitter, with countless memes poking fun at Facebook – many suggesting Twitter was the only thing holding the world together, while others added that perhaps it was time for MySpace to make a comeback
Personally, I went to a neighbor’s room, only to find them busy getting intimate perhaps since his itchy fingers would not help him access his Whatsapp. I left instantly.
The other neighbor I went to was this Twitter addict who thought Facebook and Instagram was for unserious and jobless fellows. He nodded up and down that his network was as perfect as ever. My opera mini and Chrome were working perfectly but those three applications were still stubborn. I wanted to read Facebook comments about Uganda’s Lato Milk display at the Dubai Expo and I was seething in disappointment.
When I opened Twitter, it was so Swift. The first alert I got was a post from singer Weasel, who was complaining of the same issue. They had gone through the same; some had even called network service providers about it.
“Hey fam, banange is Facebook and Instagram switched off in Uganda? Or it’s just my phone?” Weasel asked.
Then I ran to check on Facebook’s Twitter account which confirmed the crackdown. I imagined what these people with heavy follower numbers would do if these applications were not able to work again. I had promised to talk to a Korean lady I had dated using Facebook and I knew our relationship was at stake.
Though I never knew if she really was a female because of their complicated names, this Eun-Woo had been one of the reasons for my stay on Facebook. I was tired of these “Nakyambaddes” and “Naki… somethings” so, when the crackdown happened, I knew it was time to go back to the basics. I planned to try out the Natukundas or Tumusiimes although their names too had no specificity to gender.
For the first time, my Twitter account became more engaging than that of Facebook. I saw most of my friends tweeting, perhaps even those that had never thought of joining Twitter. I received over ten calls from friends asking me on whether my Facebook was working and I told them it was, to make them feel the way I had felt before checking on Twitter.
If Twitter had also been off, what would have happened? Would social media influencers retain their jobs? What about these companies whose market is majorly online?
In the process, so many people complained and reported that their accounts had been hacked and had lost them.