Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has lost an alarming amount of personal wealth, taking him down $7 billion dollars in mere hours on Monday.
This fall comes after a whistleblower stepped forward to reveal internal documents that showed that the social media company was aware of malicious ways people were using their platforms. The documents describe methods users had taken advantage of to spread harmful and misleading information across the internet through Facebook and Instagram. The whistleblower claims that Facebook used their knowledge of this activity to suppress public awareness of it.
Facebook and its other platforms, image sharing app Instagram and messenger WhatsApp, were subsequently down today, and the company’s stock has suffered dramatically as a result.
A massive selloff made the stock’s value drop 5% on Monday, worsening a 15% drop that had started in mid-September.
This plunged Zuckerberg’s own worth to $120.9 billion, causing him to move down a peg below Bill Gates on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Zuckerberg has lost nearly $20 billion since September 13.
That was the day that the Wall Street Journal published a report on Facebook’s internal documents, showing that the company had knowledge of the negative consequences of its platforms. This included knowledge of the platform’s detrimental effect on teen girls’ mental health and false information about the Capitol riots.
The company has defended itself by arguing that they are not solely responsible for these issues:
“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,” Facebook’s vice president of global affairs Nick Clegg said to CNN.
Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp all go down after whirlwind day for company
Frances Haugen, the whistleblower who gave the documents to the Wall Street Journal, made her identity public in an interview with 60 Minutes on Monday, resulting in the hit to Facebook’s stock price and general functioning.
Reports on DownDetector.com showed the outages appear to be widespread but it’s unclear at press time if it impacts all users or just some locations. It’s not currently known what is causing the outage.
All three platforms stopped working shortly before 12 p.m. EST.
The blackout happened just as Facebook Executive Antigone Davis was defending the company live on CNBC in the wake of the leak of company documents.
The company has yet to release and information as to the cause of the issue, but they have released a statement on their Twitter account, as that social media site has not been impacted by the blackout.
“We’re aware that some people are having trouble accessing Facebook app,” the company said on Twitter. “We’re working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible, and we apologize for any inconvenience.” A similar tweet was posted about WhatsApp.