Even for Facebook, Twitter is an important channel for live updates in a crisis.
The social media company suffered a global outage on Wednesday, affecting users on its Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp platforms. Users shared their consternation that their favorite social media platform was unavailable:
At least we have @Twitter 💙
— 9GAG (@9GAG) March 14, 2019
— lacy lund (@LundLacy) March 14, 2019
The outage forced many to get creative and join other networks:
— Secretary Francisco Duque III (@SecDuque) March 14, 2019
Even Facebook turned to Twitter to get messages out to its consumers:
We’re aware that some people are currently having trouble accessing the Facebook family of apps. We’re working to resolve the issue as soon as possible.
— Facebook (@facebook) March 13, 2019
We're focused on working to resolve the issue as soon as possible, but can confirm that the issue is not related to a DDoS attack.
— Facebook (@facebook) March 13, 2019
Instagram stayed true to its branding with a little visual flair:
We’re aware of an issue impacting people's access to Instagram right now. We know this is frustrating, and our team is hard at work to resolve this ASAP.
— Instagram (@instagram) March 13, 2019
Anddddd… we're back. pic.twitter.com/5E8UdlcsPJ
— Instagram (@instagram) March 14, 2019
Other product lines stuck with simple text:
We’re aware that some people are currently having trouble accessing and using Oculus. We’re working to resolve the issue as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience while we work through this.
— Oculus Support (@OculusSupport) March 13, 2019
The outage was a big headache for the social media company, which has been trying to turn the page on a massive data-use scandal and political fallout from the 2016 election.
The lengthy disruption is likely to upset advertisers that spend large amounts of money to reach potential customers on Facebook platforms. The company’s flagship social network has more than 2.3 billion users, and Instagram has more than 1 billion.
People went on Twitter to vent their frustration about the problems. The hashtag #FacebookDown and #InstagramDown were trending on Twitter for much of the day.
People used the tags to post memes about the outage, speculate about its cause and trade tips for how to survive without the company’s apps. Twitter even made the subject into a Twitter Moment.
It also has people asking whether Facebook has too much power, which dovetails with investigations into the company’s business practices.
Makes you wonder if Facebook have too much power. Four of the world's biggest communication apps together accounting for a huge proportion of people's internet use are all down together. I have realised how little social life I have outside of social media. pic.twitter.com/lXdi4W7JT0
— Teddy Waller (@TeddyWaller2) March 13, 2019
At least two companies that make smartphones and other devices have received subpoenas from a New York grand jury related to how they used Facebook user data that they received under deals with the social networking company. The companies were not named in the report.
These deals, which have mostly been discontinued, allowed people to access their Facebook accounts, or specific Facebook features, on platforms from other companies, including Blackberry and Windows Mobile phones.
In exchange, the platform providers got data about the users necessary to make these functions work. However, users did not always know the extent of the information collected and shared, according to the Times.
The outage helped rival networks draw users who needed immediate communication solutions.
Three million new users have signed up to Telegram over the past 24 hours, during a period in which Facebook (and Facebook Messenger), Instagram, and WhatsApp were all experiencing significant outages worldwide. The new users were announced by Telegram’s founder and CEO Pavel Durov on his personal Telegram channel. It’s a big number for a service boasting 200 million active users as of March 2018.
Telegram is a free encrypted messaging service similar to WhatsApp, and currently runs on user donations rather than the targeted ads model used by Facebook — which is enabled by the data it collects from its users. Telegram has always emphasized protecting its user’s privacy as one of its key features, and added end-to-end encryption support back in 2013, three years before WhatsApp.
Some found the Facebook outage humorous:
— Neil Double (@neildouble1) March 13, 2019
However, many users noted during the outage just how much they rely on Facebook’s channels for business and communications. For communicators looking to reach their audiences, the outage was no laughing matter:
social media is a utility at this point. We can make jokes but it’s true that many ppl rely on these services for business and communication. This isn’t just like your favorite channel on tv is down. It forces us to take a hard look at how much we rely on these systems.
— eddie b ⚖️ (@fluxUrself) March 13, 2019
— Sherry Morisch (@smorisch) March 14, 2019
On a normal day I’d be cool with @facebook being down.. but with an impending bomb of a blizzard and using that as a source of news and communication.. this really blows.. and I’m just bored without @instagram.. #FacebookDown #InstagramBlackout2019 #BombCyclone
— Karlie Anna (@karlie_anna) March 14, 2019
Ok ok ok – I’m all good for Facebook & Insta to be down for when I need to do work but now I actually have to do work on FB & Insta in like an hour. (We’ve got a Govt announcement in a few & it would be nice to be able to post up the PR & graphic) 🙃🙃🙃🙃 #betterworkstories
— Kieran Meredith (@tweetwithkieran) March 13, 2019
Just great Facebook and instagram are down 😤 and my work is going to pile up. A life of a PR lol 😂
— michael casas (@michael_casas19) March 13, 2019
— Kari Mather (@KariMatters) March 13, 2019
Perhaps it’s time to evaluate how you can reach your audience without any of these powerful social media tools. They might not always be there when you need them.
How did you cope with the Facebook and Instagram outage, PR Daily readers?