Facebook Panic: Why Are People Calling 911 When Facebook Goes Down?

People call 911 in LA in panic when Facebook goes down for 30 minutes
“Facebook is down. I repeat Facebook is down.” This tweet was one of many on August 1st when the popular social networking site went down for more than half an hour. Within minutes, users were flooding the internet, the search term: Is Facebook Down? Became the 4th most asked on Google and 911 lines in LA were flooded with calls from panicked citizens reporting the incident.

It might sound like an over-reaction, but when you remember that 56% of the world’s population is on Facebook for more than 700 billion minutes of their lives each month, it starts to make sense. People felt confused and locked out – who better to call than the local Police.

But even the authorities didn’t know what to do about the problem which started with this error message; “Facebook is currently experiencing an issue that is affecting all API and web surfaces. Our engineers detected the issue quickly and are working to resolve it ASAP. We’ll update shortly.” During the Facebook lock out, Police were left with no choice but to resort to Twitter to issue stern warnings not to clog up the emergency line over something so trivial and for 35 minutes, you were unlikely to get help with anything in Los Angeles’ County.

South Africa’s New Times suggested the possible cause of this mass public over-reaction could be related to a newly diagnosed medical condition:

“Nomophobia is an intense fear of losing or becoming disconnected from being able to use one’s cell phone. Studies show that up to 75% don’t like going to the bathrooms without their phones and with as many as 48% of the total amount of Facebook users logged in each day. The social emergency classification starts to make sense.”

Until recently, the most unwarranted 911 calls have been to do with lost love or substance abuse, but it appears social media has overtaken romance on the must-have list for everyday people.

Strange that we are so attached to something social scientists constantly report makes us unhappy. “Facebook effectively provides a platform for social comparison and can leave you feeling lonely, frustrated and depressed as well. It changes how you feel about yourself, other people and the negative health implications are numerous.”

With Facebook user-numbers continually growing, people are relying more on social media platforms as their primary source of communication – one wonders, if in two generations time, we will have lost the ability to converse, with human connection reduced to snippets the length of status updates relayed from the phones in our hands.

(Photo courtesy of nate bolt)

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6 Responses to Facebook Panic: Why Are People Calling 911 When Facebook Goes Down?

  1. dean says:

    Seriously? These people are idiots. It’s as bad as calling 911 because you need a ride somewhere. This is why the government has to put warnings on everything.

  2. bob says:

    haha, stupid facebook user calling 911

  3. Bryce Canyon says:

    Do you have to be a moron to use Facebook, or does Facebook turn you into a moron? Maybe it’s both.

  4. bobbi says:

    only in LA. :)

  5. Gailete says:

    You got to be kidding! Why would anyone think they would need to call 911 when FB is showing that they have a problem and will be back up as soon as possible? What did these idiots expect the cops to do? I certainly hope that the few times I talk with someone on the phone they aren’t doing it in the bathroom. what is wrong with people? Constantly yakking on the phone or even worse in my opinion wearing one of those things in their ears like they are so important that they can’t even pop into Walmart without people being able to reach them. About the only people that I can think of that need something like that are Obstetricians since very woman wants HER doctor when delivering.

    I actually thought that was a joke headline when I saw it. Shaking my head. I don’t use a cell phone and I spend approx. 15 minutes a week on FB (to pick up messages from friends and kids)

  6. liinuxpert says:

    even the author seems to be one of them who claims that 56% of world’s population is on facebook. May be author’s world is just facebook……….

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