How tech and the hurricane have affected each other

Hurricane Sandy and business and technology — the good, the bad and the ugly:

Infrastructure: Data centers and tech offices, some belonging to Silicon Valley companies such as Google and Cisco, were hit. Landlines went down, such as those of Verizon, and cell-phone service and Internet connections were down or spotty in some areas, such as lower Manhattan. Websites such as Gawker, the Huffington Post and Buzzfeed, which have a common Internet service provider, became inaccessible Monday night and Tuesday morning.

Social media: From Twitter to Facebook to Instagram, social networks again proved to be useful during a time of disaster in many ways — including as a way to get news or help — but tales of fails were inevitable.

Faked photographs circulated on Facebook; false information was disseminated on Twitter. At SiliconBeat, the Merc’s Chris O’Brien points out that the heart-tugging photo of  rain-drenched soldiers guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was actually taken in September; the Washington Post said there was a fake photo of scuba divers swimming in the flooded New York City subway system.

The campaign manager for New York Congressional candidate Christopher Wright has resigned after admitting to deliberately tweeting false information — the tweets said the New York Stock Exchange floor was flooded under 3 feet of water, and that power would be shut down in all of Manhattan, according to Buzzfeed. A New York City councilman is  pushing for charges to be brought against Shashank Tripathi, reportedly a 29-year-old hedge fund whose Twitter handle is @comfortablysmug. “I hope the fact that I’m asking for criminal charges to be seriously considered will make him much less comfortable and much less smug,” Peter Vallone told Buzzfeed.

Wall Street: U.S. stock markets reopened today after being closed for two days, with the NYSE reportedly planning to run on backup generators. A key Silicon Valley stock to watch: Facebook, whose shares were already down sharply, more than 4 percent to $21.03 as of this post. The social network’s lockup expiration — when rank-and-file employees could sell their shares — was Monday.


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