Elaine Byrne: If Facebook is too big to fail, it’s too big to exist

The social media giant holds half the world’s population in thrall and, as whistleblower Frances Haugen pointed out last week, it allows no principle to hamper its pursuit of profit

14th October, 2021
Elaine Byrne: If Facebook is too big to fail, it’s too big to exist
The governments of the world would not tolerate a single banking institution providing financial services to half its entire population. Picture: Getty

First the numbers. Facebook and its family of apps – Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp – are used by approximately 3.5 billion people, equating to almost half the world’s entire population.

The platform’s six-hour outage last Monday deprived populations around the world of their only means of digital communication and commerce. In many countries, telecommunications services are exceptionally expensive, and their populations have come to rely heavily on WhatsApp, which is free.

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