By Olajide Meseko
Silicon Valley techpreneur Mark Zuckerberg’s personal wealth has fallen by nearly $7 billion in a few hours, knocking him down a notch on the list of the world’s richest people, after a whistleblower came forward and outages took Facebook Inc.’s flagship products offline, Bloomberg reports.
At about 4pm ( Nigerian time ) on Monday, users visiting Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp are confronted with error messages.
At least over three billion online users are frustrated and unable to connect all over the world due to the shutdown.
Chief Technology Officer at Facebook, Mike Schroepfe, tweeted, “Sincere apologies to everyone impacted by outages of Facebook powered services right now. We are experiencing networking issues and teams are working as fast as possible to debug and restore as fast as possible.”
According to Bloomberg, a selloff sent the social-media giant’s stock plummeting around 5% on Monday, adding to a drop of about 15% since mid-September.
The stock slide on Monday sent Zuckerberg’s worth down to $120.9 billion, dropping him below Bill Gates to No. 5 on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. He’s lost about $19 billion of wealth since September 13, when he was worth nearly $140 billion, according to the index.
On September 13, the Wall Street Journal began publishing a series of stories based on a cache of internal documents, revealing that Facebook knew about a wide range of problems with its products — such as Instagram’s harm to teenage girls’ mental health and misinformation about the Jan. 6 Capitol riots — while downplaying the issues in public.
The reports have drawn the attention of government officials, and on Monday, the whistleblower revealed herself for the first time and accused the social media giant of putting “profit over safety” of its users.
In response, Facebook has emphasised that the issues facing its products, including political polarisation, are complex and not caused by technology alone.
Many social media users are currently on Twitter while the microblogging chief Jack Dorsey is asking how much it cost to buy Facebook’s domain name.