Last night we saw the worst Facebook outage since 2008. Only this time round, many SMEs are relying on the operations of Facebook and it’s apps, Instagram and WhatsApp for their marketing campaigns and customer engagement. Luckily, the outage didn’t affect many UK businesses to the same capacity it did with our American and Australian counterparts.
But there’s a question to be asked here; has the outage underscored the reliance our economy has on the tech giant as an essential business tool, and not just as idle entertainment? As Business Insider highlighted.
The outage affected potentially tens of thousands of users on Monday evening as Facebook and its apps appeared to have error messages upon opening, highlighting the extensive dependency the world has on the platforms.
It isn’t uncommon for Facebook to have localised outages, but with nearly 3 billion users worldwide, it is strange to have a ‘global outage’. The most reported problems seemed to stop people using the platforms entirely, with 45% of complaints about sending messages, 28% with the app, and 27% with the website, according to High Level information.
The outage hit SMEs around the globe that rely on Instagram, Facebook, and WhatsApp, as shops, restaurants and delivery services lost money, the New York Times reported. Many businesses rely on Facebook’s infrastructure, which is a concerning thought for many UK SME owners. If these outages became a recurring risk, SMEs will need to re-think how they reach their customers.
Social media marketing is one of the top methods for SMEs to showcase their products/services, engage with their customers, and promote themselves. As a more affordable option to print and TV advertising, it is often the only option for a majority of small businesses in the UK. But if our entire marketing campaigns rely on another company’s technology and infrastructure, we have to accept the risk that these services could cut out without notice. Perhaps it is time to look at alternative options to boost our businesses’ profiles.
Although many saw the lighter side of the service plunge with Facebook rival, Twitter, tweeting “Hello literally everyone” in a slight epicaricacy manner.
The disruption extended far beyond the platform’s users, also affecting the advertising services that Facebook offers, causing “cascading impacts”, Luke Deryckx, the CTO for Ookla, wrote in the Downdetector blog post.
“I know how much you rely on our services to stay connected with the people you care about,” the CEO, Mark Zuckerberg apologising for the outage on Facebook once the platforms were fully functioning, without providing any explanation. However, Facebook has said that there is “no evidence” that user data was compromised.
In just a few hours, Mark Zuckerberg’s personal wealth was reduced by nearly $7 billion (5,141,528,000 GBP), causing his position in the list of the richest people in the world to drop.
Do you rely on Facebook &/or it's platforms for the operations of your business?
— Real Business (@Real_Business) October 5, 2021