On Monday, you probably had a moment when you thought your wifi was out again. Hundreds of thousands of people couldn’t refresh Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp, or Facebook Messenger, an outage that lasted at least six hours.
According to CivicScience polling, 43% of U.S. adults thought the outage was suspicious. Just the day before, Frances Haugen revealed herself as the source behind the Wall Street Journal’s Facebook Files. Only 11% of those surveyed said it was a mere coincidence.
Oddly, 18- to 24-year-olds were the least aware of Monday’s downtime, despite being one of the two age groups with the most Facebook users. They were also the least suspicious of the event and the most likely to say it was a coincidence. The skeptics are between 35 and 54 with 50% of this age group saying the outage was suspicious.
Weekly tracking of consumer-reported Facebook usage shows a drop in non-users and a jump in daily users for the week of October 3. Whistleblower Haugen’s media attention garnered on October 4 likely brought an influx of interest from users and non-users alike. Despite the unsavory reports and information causing somewhat of a scandal for Facebook, usage of both Facebook and Instagram ticked up as curiosity among the general public set in. And Facebook usage saw a much larger increase than Instagram.
When consumers were asked for their opinions on Facebook’s future popularity, the data show a rising percentage of those who believe it will become more popular which began around when the first part of the Facebook Files were published by the Wall Street Journal.
Is this fame or infamy at work? Not all press is good press so how will Facebook proceed? With so many people relying on the platform for connection, information, e-commerce, and more, it’s hard to imagine popularity decreasing. But this was a historic week for social media so CivicScience will be following the progression of events and reporting on consumer perception and sentiment.