Social media, which allows us to keep in touch with distant friends and family, has now grown into an essential media and entertainment tool on a global scale. Which makes Facebook’s outages last Monday a big issue. Facebook‘s other apps Instagram and What’s App were also unavailable for several hours. Outages like this could lead to irreparable damage to small businesses that rely on these apps.
Facebook‘s outage occurred when a line of code went awry during planned maintenance and led to a system shutdown and lockout that took several hours to fix. It also led to further outages throughout the week with users still experiencing issues as late as last Friday.
Normally it would not be such a big deal, as sites go down from time to time. The difference is that Instagram and Facebook are for advertising and businesses over the past decade. Instagram alone made an estimated $32 billion in 2020. This particular outage is estimated to cost Facebook billions in losses.
From a media standpoint, this whole situation shows just how much power Facebook holds. With a touch of a button, it can take down two of the biggest social media platforms. It’s not only scary for journalists and media outlets, but to advertisers and large corporations that invest millions into these platforms. An entire industry sprouted up around things like targeted ads for readers and creators on these sites.
Social media is how most people get their news, giving these companies massive influence on news media. When you can post whatever you want on social media and the only governing body of these posts is a multi-billion dollar organization and its moderation team, there will automatically be a chance for minor manipulation.
Going forward, hopefully Facebook will put more precautions in place to prevent future issues like the outages. If outages continue, it may lead to irreparable damage to businesses that rely on social media marketing.
This leaves us with a few big questions: Does Facebook hold too much power? Do we rely too much on social media? Do outages become a bigger problem as these social networks continue to grow, adding more moving parts?
Ask people you know what they think about these outages and how it might affect them going forward. Because social media is somthing that is now a part of our daily lives.