Is 20 Hours Too Long To Be Without Social Media?

No one likes to be without essential services like power or water. For younger generations the Internet can be added to that as well. In most cases people have made the most of the events, like in the New York City Blackout of 1977 when there was a baby boom nine months later. Yes, we hate to break it to you, children are not Blue Light Specials at K-Mart nor are they delivered by storks. In a way, times have changed as a recent outage with Facebook proved.

The Outage

At about noon ET on March 13 Facebook began to experience problems and Instagram, Oculus and WhatsApp was soon to follow. The outage was more than just in the US, it affected the world over but the good news was that it appeared to be confined to just Facebook and companies that it owned and not the entire web.

Facebook took to Twitter ironically to try to keep users updated, first stressing that the issue was not a malicious attack and that they were trying to resolve the issue. For Facebook this was the second major outage in less than six months following an hours-long outage that Facebook blamed on a server configuration.

The Results

It has not been a good past 12 months for Facebook and this outage adds to the list of woes. It took nearly 20 hours for the service to be fully restored and Facebook blamed “a server configuration change” for the outage that “triggered a cascading series of issues”. One does have to wonder why they would do this during the middle of the day in the US and not overnight and many people were skeptical of this.

Facebook has been losing users to other platforms owing to other abusive users, abuse by the company of their own data, perceived censorship and the purging of bot accounts. Their stock value has plunged since last summer and dropped nearly 1.5% with the outage and only recovered slightly the following day.

Affecting More Than Just Your Kids

Many users were understandably frustrated. With an era of 24/7 availability at their fingertips they were not used to having to deal with a serious outage and with their lives being played out on the Internet it was a challenge to find something to fill that void. Many businesses also found it difficult as they rely on Facebook’s Messenger service or Facebook Messenger for Business. At least one rival social media service, Telegram, saw 3 million users sign up during the outage and certain other websites saw a spike in traffic (we hope this wasn’t you, not that we are judging!). Maybe times really haven’t changed as much as we thought.

While some people can chuckle at others who are so tied to their social media accounts that they do not know how to function without them there were serious issues that cost businesses valuable time and money. Businesses rely on Facebook, both for advertising and communications and at least as far as the communications went many businesses were left frustrated bringing the wheels of commerce to a grinding halt.

Do You Have A Contingency Plan?

While Facebook certainly does not hope that this happens again this is the second time in six months that the service has been brought down by a major outage. Recognizing that outages will occur do you have a plan in place should your communications platform go down? Is it an alternate service or email? For companies that have collaborators that work from home or work in different locations this could be a huge deal and allow you to continue being productive even when something unforeseen happens.

In today’s online business place communications are important and being unable to communicate with clients, coworkers or customers leaves everyone in a frustrating situation. If your business depends on Facebook Messenger you may want to begin searching for an alternative or just a backup service. We at Nicely Done Sites use Google Hangouts and if you have worked with us you have undoubtedly heard us mention that. It may be difficult to leave Messenger since all of your communications are archived but can you afford to be in this situation every six months?

There are some who say that Facebook is a dying platform and have stopped using it. Outages like these only further bolster their claim. Facebook has had a very rough past 12 months and what happens in the next 12 may determine if the company survives as we know it. Only a year ago saying something like that would have been hard to fathom. Another outage like the last one will not help as it will force users to find other platforms and some of those users may be you.

Comments are closed.

Scroll to Top