On Monday, October 4, a global failure occurred in the servers of the company Facebook, Inc. that left all users of the three most used social networks in the world without service for several hours: Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram. The news monopolized all the media and social networks; well, the ones that remained active. The truth is that the public conversation on the internet remained associated with this fact during that day and the next.
That is why we are interested in knowing how this event affected the interest of Venezuelans. One way to get an idea is to check search trends through Google. It could be said that it is already common, at least among those who use the internet regularly, that when we want to find out something or clarify a doubt, we turn to the largest search engine for digital information.
Google offers a free access tool called Google Trends (Google Trends). There you can make queries by keywords, date and geographic location to determine the interest of users on any subject through the words they search through this engine.
The first thing we did was find out what are the most common searches that Venezuelans normally do on Google, and then compare this table with what happened on October 4. In this way, we appreciate to what extent the fall of Facebook impacted digital attention in our country.
What are we looking for?
We consult the main terms that Venezuelans have searched during the last 30 days. Google offers us the information in the following way: it indicates, first, the most repeated search and assigns it a value of 100 points, then it organizes the following terms as a proportion of the interest with respect to that first.
Almost all searches are for keywords related to the names of websites that people want to access. Instead of directly typing the URL of the page they want to see, people tend to put the name in Google so that the engine returns the access link to them and in this way enter by clicking.
Having understood this, we see that what is most sought after in this country is the phrase “Banco Venezuela”. Second, there is the expression "bank of Venezuela." This is not surprising, since it is the largest bank in the country, with more than 14 million users who type these words to access the online banking service. It is worth saying that, although here we consult the last 30 days, the first result will be the same even when consulting a year or more.
After Banco de Venezuela, what is most sought after is the word "homeland." It is also a method to reach the website of the Plataforma Patria, the government's social benefits system. Then comes "Facebook", to enter the social network, "mercantile", by the bank; "Youtube", for the social video network; and "bicentenario" and "banesco", also names of banks.
Google Trends It also offers us a list of the terms that during the period consulted have experienced extraordinary growth in searches, even though they may not reach the first places in the main table. We call this here "trends" and they are organized by the percentage increase in people's interest.
In the last 30 days, the searches for "the squid game" and "autumn equinox" stood out, both with a growth of more than 5.000%, which Google labels as "exponential increase". In the first case, it is about the Korean television series recently released on Netflix and the second refers to the interest about the change of the seasons of the year in the northern hemisphere.
What happened on October 4?
Now, to see what happened in the interest of Venezuelans on the day of the fall of Facebook, we took the two main common searches, that is, "Banco de Venezuela" and "Patria", and compared them with the words "Facebook "," WhatsApp "and" Instagram ". The period consulted corresponds to the last 7 days: from October 1 to 7. Thus we can appreciate the behavior before, during and after the failure.
As a result, we observe that the terms related to digital services that failed on Monday, October 4, certainly had a significant growth in people's interest that day. But there are two things that stand out:
1- The interest in Facebook and WhatsApp, although it was above the searches on the Bank of Venezuela, failed to overcome the interest in the Platform Patria, which during this week dominated the queries, even above the term that normally occupies the first place.
2- It is remarkable that, in our country, of the three Mark Zuckerberg platforms, the one that most interests people is undoubtedly Facebook. The other two are typically not highly searched on Google. However, they had an important interest on the day of the failure, highlighting the concern for WhatsApp more than for Instagram. This could be explained because both WhatsApp and Instagram are systems that are mostly used on mobile phones, and very little on desktop computers. On the other hand, Facebook does have a greater use in these teams, and then people put this word in Google to, as we said above, enter the platform.
In the following table you can see how the interest for each of these terms is distributed in each region of the country.
The variation in specific interest for services that failed can be seen in the following search trend tables related to the name of each platform.
We also analyzed how some competing platforms fared on the day of the failure of the world's leading services in the digital world. We compare: Twitter, Telegram, Signal, Discord and Skype. The first is the famous microblogging social network, which has always successfully escorted Zuckerberg companies. The others are direct communication and messaging applications, specifically competitors of WhatsApp. We could see that, in Venezuela, Twitter and Telegram dominate the environment as alternatives, the former as an open publication network and the latter as a private communication tool.
While WhatsApp is the undisputed leader, Telegram is completely alone in second place. Signal and Skype didn't arouse any interest that day. But it is notable that, although very far from Telegram, the Discord application, a messaging network used mostly by video game players (“Gamers”), is consolidated in the third place in importance in Venezuela, although it did not have any variation in terms of interest. search as an alternative to WhatsApp failure.