Twitter, Instagram, Facebook all see hiccups

PHOTO: Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook have had a rough time lately. (via Nice PNG)

Social media has always been a crapshoot of information, updates from friends, conspiracy theories, racism and hate speech, and photos of your favourite holidays and foods. But recently, platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook themselves have become a part of the hot mess that they contain.

Elon Musk bought Twitter and is publicly arguing with horror author Stephen King over the price they should charge for subscriptions. Instagram suffered a major outage, just days after WhatsApp had connection failures, causing people to get messages that they have been banned from the platform. And Facebook just hit their first anniversary of evolving into Meta, not that anyone seems to care.

TWITTER: PAY TO PLAY?

After the world’s richest man, Elon Musk, bought Twitter for US$44 billion, he planned and already started enacting sweeping changes to the popular social platform. One of the most controversial is the plan to convert the blue checkmark system from an icon that indicates a user has been verified to be the famous (or at least notable) person they claim to be on Twitter into a system to gain credibility by paying US$20 a month.

Now, Musk walked it back, quite publicly, in a tweet conversation with legendary horror writer Stephen King, who rejected the fee. Elon seemed to try to bargain with King, lowering the price to US$8.

Elon Musk and Stephen King debating blue checks on Twitter.
Elon Musk and Stephen King debating blue checks on Twitter.

Musk now announced that they will charge US$8 a month for Twitter Blue, including the verified badge. Blue will also include priority in searches, mentions, and replies. Users will be able to post longer audio and video clips and, perhaps most importantly, will be shown half as many ads. Blue currently allows users to edit tweets for a US$5-a-month fee.

A survey showed that 80% of Twitter users were not willing to pay for a subscription service, according to Bangkok Post.

INSTAGRAM: YOU’RE SUSPENDED!

Meanwhile, Instagram suffered an outage this week that caused a global user panic. Over 7,500 reports poured in as users could not access their Instagram accounts. People eager to post a (perhaps airbrushed and embellished) portrayal of their life on the popular photo and video site were shocked when they couldn’t get into the app.

Not only were log-ins failing, but thousands of users were met with a notice saying “we suspended your account on October 31, 2022.” They were warned that they have 30 days to appeal the suspension before it becomes permanent.

Instagram acknowledged the outage and glitch in a post on – wait for it… – Twitter, saying they were “looking into it and apologize for the inconvenience.” They have confirmed that the glitch is now resolved and members are no longer locked out, with their follower count potentially dropping as well.

META-FLOP

It’s been a year since Instagram’s parent company changed from Facebook to an umbrella name Meta, with founder Mark Zuckerberg enthusiastically promoting the idea of social media moving into virtual reality (VR). Now, one year on, people don’t seem nearly as excited as Zuckerberg about the concept.

The move to Meta was announced on October 28, 2021, with the Facebook CEO announcing that the metaverse was the future. Since then, Facebook stock has fallen 70%. Meta has posted losses of US$9.4 billion this year.

In the meantime, Facebook has faced criticism for its outsized role in politics and elections, misinformation and the January 6 insurrection in the US at the Capitol Building in Washington. Meanwhile, young social media users have moved to TikTok which threatens Facebook’s core strategies and advertising revenue.

Meta has bet their future on the adoption of VR, but so far it doesn’t seem like users want to put down their ubiquitous mobile phones that link them to everything in their lives now. Meta’s VR headsets are leading the market, but with new models costing US$1500, people migrating to VR will likely be slow in the near future.

Technology NewsWorld News

Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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