Digital Services Act European Parliament Press releases

Pirates: Facebook outage could have been avoided

Brussels/Strasbourg, 05/10/2021 – Pirate MEPs agreed that yesterday’s outage of Facebook and other networks could have been avoided. The solution would have been interoperability: interconnection of individual networks managed by different providers. The European Pirates have been pushing for interoperability at the European level in the Digital Services Act (DSA) and the Digital Markets Act (DMA).

Marcel Kolaja MEP, Czech Vice-President of the European Parliament & DMA shadow rapporteur in the Committee on the Internal Market (IMCO), comments:

„In technical terms, Facebook incorrectly updated their BGP records, making it impossible to route traffic to Facebook from anywhere on the Internet. They practically removed themselves from the Internet. To make matters worse, a lot of Internet services depend to a certain extent on Facebook. Including… Facebook itself. It was as if they had forgotten their keys and locked themselves out of their own home. This outage demonstrates the risks of the whole Internet being dependent on one company. That is another good reason why we need an interoperability obligation of core services in the Digital Markets Act.“

Mikuláš Peksa MEP, Chair of the European Pirates and Member of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy in the European Parliament, comments:

“If the network was decentralised and each of its nodes was managed by a different provider – like Mastodon, for example – something like this would not have happened. We are currently discussing the Digital Services Act and Digital Markets Act in the European Parliament. Apart from issues related to freedom of expression, which are mentioned most often, it also deals with technical issues such as requirements for crisis protocols among other things. One of our long-standing demands, which I managed to push into the ITRE committee report, is interoperability.“

Markéta Gregorová MEP, Member of the Special Committee on Foreign Interference in all Democratic Processes in the European Union, including Disinformation, comments:

„On Twitter, the outages were blamed on China in a tweet that went viral in the Czech republic after it was shared by a Czech journalist. It is a textbook example of a failure to verify the reliability of sources: it would have only taken a glance and a few seconds to see that the profile picture of the source of the accusations has a mangled name, the account was not verified, and the name does not match the so-called Twitter handle. Similar trolls, satire and deliberate hoaxes are becoming more and more common, especially in the context of elections, so it is important to check. It only takes a moment.“

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