In news at least as shocking and shattering as the collapse of a major country, the death of several national treasures, or even the splitting up of Take That... Facebook, Instagram, and Whatsapp are down: at the time of writing, three hours and counting. This abrupt and unprecedented outage appears worldwide and is affecting all related Facebook-owned platforms, including Messenger.
And, in all seriousness, this is likely to spell major disaster for many people across the world; those who live in atomised and fragmented communities (most of us), those who are alienated and ostracised from those around them (more of us than ever, since the advent of "the pandemic"), and those for whom social media is a central lynchpin of their lives - for many, a genuine and literal lifeline, especially during "lockdown".
It's highly likely the UK will soon be joining its English-speaking cousins in Australasia in a harsh winter lockdown, and one of the sustaining and saving graces of the last one was social media; Facebook, in particular, which allowed powerful new communities to spring up all over the country, and like-minded people to get together and begin to organise how to fight back.
It therefore makes perfect sense for the overlords to now pull the plug. Given the resistance is primarily aged over 35, and that Facebook has become renowned as the go-to social media platform for that demographic, pulling Facebook (rather than Tik Tok or Snapchat etc.) will disproportionately affect "conspiracy theorists" and their abilities to stay in touch and strategise, organise, and resist.
I certainly don't believe this outage is either a genuine glitch or meant to be brief; one platform going down in one or two countries could legitimately be a technical hitch. Multiple platforms worldwide is planned, intentional, and very likely to be permanent - or, if these platforms do return, it won't be in any form any of us recognise or want to return to.
The overlords, as ever, have been playing the long game. They gave us Facebook, knowing it would present a brilliant and irresistible, shimmering window of opportunity for dissenters and outcasts to finally find each other; to connect, to share experiences, and to create communities - whilst they, the overlords, remained in complete control of all of it. As they say, the best way to control the opposition is to lead it yourself, and the overlords have been the grandmasters and pied pipers of guiding our behaviour via social media. As a result, they now know everything. They know who we all are. They've got access to all our public content and private messages. They have the kind of intrinsic, intimate detail on enemies of the state that pre-2000 federal agencies could only have dreamed of.
And they hooked us on communicating their way, too, deftly engineering Facebook to be the ultimate feelgood casino, with a shower of super-addictive dopamine cascading through the brain every time a shower of new 'likes' comes in - a particularly alluring experience when we were all under indefinite house-arrest last year, and the opportunity for "real" exciting, feel-good social connectivity was severely curtailed.
And now, like the dark magicians they are, the overlords have clicked their fingers (or clicked a button) and made it all disappear. The purpose of the last 18 months has not been just to poison us physically, with tests, masks, and injections, but to break us psychologically, as well, and losing Facebook and all its attendant addictiveness and connectivity - in a world where everyone has become increasingly isolated - will be a shattering blow to many.
So the critical point now, if you've managed to resist their dark spells thus far, is not to fall for this one, either. The first thing to prioritise is solidifying your real-life, local connections - and by local, I mean as local as possible: people ideally in walking distance, or no more than a short drive away, because, in the event of major outages of every sort, including fuel shortages, you do not want to be primarily reliant on anyone who is too far away. So get in touch with people no more than 30 minutes drive away and ensure you have all their contact details - mobile, landline, physical address - written down by hand and keep these somewhere safe. If you have local "internet friends" who you haven't met in person yet, prioritise doing that as soon as possible. If you're not connected to anyone locally, get down to your local Stand in the Park (10am Sunday mornings in most major parks) or search for like-minded people on Telegram, MeWe, or other platforms that are currently still functioning. Join the anti-lockdown, pro-freedom political party, Freedom Alliance, who frequently email their members about local activism and events. But above all else - get active locally and make sure you're not left adrift as and when the internet becomes increasingly unreliable.
I have it on good authority that more internet platforms are going to go down in the near future, so prepare for that, by saving, downloading and printing anything you know you will need whilst you still can. If you're reliant on streaming services for entertainment, I suggest stocking up on some cheap DVDs and CDs, as well as some non-electronic entertainment, such as books and board games.
Hopefully all this will be a false alarm, and the current outages will be brief and normal service will be resumed imminently, but many credible sources have been predicting internet "darkness", followed by heavy censorship, for a long time, and so, even if now isn't "the big one", that's definitely coming, and so it's wisest to prepare whilst we can.
If you look carefully, you can see there have been strong hints for some while that "they" were going to pull the plug on Facebook - most notably, the Netflix documentary The Social Dilemma, which was very powerful propaganda demonising "anti-vaxxers" and others with non-mainstream views. The premise was basically that these formerly fringe and fairly harmless groups had become far too powerful and prominent due to social media, and that the - completely benevolent and well-meaning! - inventors of Facebook had effectively "created a monster" that was now completely out of their control, and they were gravely concerned about the ramifications. As I recall, the documentary concluded by urgently encouraging you to delete all your social media.
And this was pre-pandemic, so the establishment argument for heavy censorship - or outright abolition - of these platforms now will have intensified a thousand fold: that, in a worldwide emergency such as the so-called pandemic, free speech is far too dangerous a commodity and so the only solution (the final one) is to destroy the platforms that promulgate it.
The 'resistance' will therefore scatter to all the dozens of available alternatives, and in so doing, profoundly dilute the connectivity and impact of the resistance movement. Not only will people disburse to various platforms, but no other one platform comes anywhere close to assembling the gargantuan numbers of Facebook. Exacerbating this is the fact that, many people, when faced with the demise of Facebook, will simply give up on social media altogether. The overlords know all this: we are very well-studied, and our likely reactions to situations meticulously predicted and analysed in advance.
So the important thing is that we continue to elude their algorithms and predictions by not panicking or catastrophising in the face of social media collapse. It was always going to come eventually, and whether the permanent abolition of these platforms is now or a little way off, it doesn't matter: we just have to remember that, by far the most profound and powerful ability the internet has or has ever had, is to get people off the internet, and into each other's lives.
So what are you still reading this for? 😉