This week’s outage occurred due to a “faulty configuration change” at Facebook HQ which, in turn, affected Facebook and everything Facebook owns, including Instagram and Whatsapp as well as and anywhere you ‘login via facebook’. The outage caused global and wide scale disruption for individuals and businesses who rely on Facebook-owned platforms – including an underserved international population that is heavily dependent on facebook for basic communication – to operate and communicate with loved ones, colleagues and customers.
Why are all our eggs in one basket?
The Web was originally designed as an open and decentralized medium to exchange information. Over time, new applications, services, and social networks like Facebook emerged as large, private, silos of personal data. Most if not all of our personal data is now online, fragmented across these silos. When these services go down, large or small, our data goes with them.
So, how can we move away from this centralized approach?
The decentralized web, provides a viable solution that is already in use today. It puts data (and power) back into the hands of users. Instead of a person’s data living in multiple, uncontrollable and privately owned online siloes, it is owned by the user, and shared (and rescinded) with the applications and services they choose. Applications would become smarter and more nimble, as they would interoperate with each other, demonstrating clear value for all users. A failure at Facebook would therefore, just affect Facebook…businesses (and life!) would not come grinding to a halt.
This week many people wondered “Why does Facebook own access to all these things?” and “am I one outage away from losing half a life’s worth of information?” The decentralized web democratizes data ownership for individuals rather than global corporations, putting power back into the hands of people and avoiding “digital black-outs” with catastrophic implications.
At Janeiro, we’re already applying this approach to healthcare. We’re working with global enterprise and government organizations like the UK’s NHS to solve interoperability issues and improve care by giving people access and control of their entire health history and information.
Read more about our work with the NHS.
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