By Prince Osuagwu, Hi-Tech Editor & Emmanuel Elebeke
A report by Yahoo Finance has indicated that Facebook founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mark Zuckerberg, lost more than $6 billion in personal wealth, in the few hours after the crash of Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram on Monday.
Recall that the three apps which are all owned by Facebook, and run on shared infrastructure went down completely before 5pm yesterday, Bringing Zuckerberg down on the list of the world’s richest people.
Facebook tweeted moments after the crash to say it was aware of the outage. “We’re working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible, and we apologise for any inconvenience”.
With this development, Zuckerberg’s net worth is now valued at $121.6 billion, putting him as the fifth richest person in the world.
The drastic reduction in his net worth was largely due to a revelation by a whistleblower and also outages that affected Facebook’s flagship products; Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp.
According to the report, a selloff sent the social-media giant’s stock plummeting 4.9 percent on Monday, adding to a drop of about 15 percent since mid-September.
The stock slide on Monday sent Zuckerberg’s worth down to $121.6 billion, dropping him below Bill Gates to No. 5 on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. He’s down from almost $140 billion in a matter of weeks, according to the index.
Meanwhile, the apps and their mobile and web browser editions which were not working as of few minutes to 5.00pm Nigerian time on Monday, are now back.
They were down for more than six hours. However, Facebook has apologised to its teeming followers saying it was a faulty configuration change that caused the outage.
The apps started coming back early morning on Monday, when said: “To the huge community of people and businesses around the world who depend on us: we’re sorry. We’ve been working hard to restore access to our apps and services and are happy to report they are coming back online now. Thank you for bearing with us.”
However, when normalcy finally returned, the social media outfit in a statement, added: “Our engineering teams have learned that configuration changes on the backbone routers that coordinate network traffic between our data centres caused issues that interrupted this communication. This disruption to network traffic had a cascading effect on the way our data centres communicate, bringing our services to a halt.
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“Our services are now back online and we’re actively working to fully return them to regular operations. We want to make clear at this time we believe the root cause of this outage was a faulty configuration change. We also have no evidence that user data was compromised as a result of this downtime,” the statement claimed.
The Wall Street Journal had on 13th September, started the publication 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.
Responding, Facebook has emphasized that the issues facing its products, including political polarization, are complex and not caused by technology alone.
Nick Clegg, Facebook’s vice president of global affairs. said, “I think it gives people comfort to assume that there must be a technological or a technical explanation for the issues of political polarization in the United States”.
Mark Zuckerberg had in 2012 overtaken Warren Buffett and became the world’s third-richest person, further solidifying technology as the most robust creator of wealth. Zuckerberg then trailed only Amazon.com Inc. founder Jeff Bezos and Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates.
In November 2020, South African-born billionaire entrepreneur, Elon Musk, overtook Bill Gates and became the second richest person in the world, according to Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
This came few weeks after Musk overtook Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg to become the third-richest.
However, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, remains number one in the rankings.
Musk ranked 35th on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index in January 2020 but his wealth soared after his electric car company Tesla was selected to join the S&P 500.
Having failed to make the cut in September 2020, Tesla entered the S&P 500, a stock market index that measures the performance of 500 large companies listed on the US stock exchange, on December 21.
Musk’s net worth soared from $7.2 billion to $127.9 billion, driven by a surge in Tesla’s share price.