What causes social media outage and what are its impact?

29th August 2022

A social media outage is a rare event, but it happens. Last year, Facebook and its family apps, Instagram and WhatsApp, faced an outage; all these platforms were inaccessible for hours. This created a problem for social media users who use it as a medium to communicate with others and have jobs based on social media platforms. Even though the outage lasted for a few hours, it clearly indicated people’s dependency on social media platforms. The prime question here is why exactly social media outage happens, and how do the outages impact? 

The Cause Behind Social Media Outage 

There are many causes behind social media outages, but the problem is mostly because of technical errors. Even changing the internet infrastructure used to coordinate the internet traffic to the data center can interrupt the social media platforms. This can prevent one from uploading WhatsApp Status or Cool Photos on Instagram. Another reason behind such outages is cyber attacks and malicious interference in social media platforms. Also, a problem in the company’s domain name can result in a social media outage. 

The social media outage that happened last year resulted from configuration changes in the company’s backbone routers that maintain the coordination between network traffic and the data centers. The disruption in the network traffic then has a devastating impact on the communication of the data center. 

Sometimes, even a Domain Name System or DNS can cause an issue. DNS is the internet protocol that supports word conversion to computer languages like numbers or internet addresses. With the help of conversion, the user can access the service and applications that they want to use. A failure in DNS results in a DNS error that can prevent the users from accessing any service or product. 

The Number Of Social Media Outages

Even though last year’s outage captured plenty of eyeballs, it was not the first time that Facebook and the family products have faced an outage. In 2020, four WhatsApp outages occurred. The outage that took place in January 2020 lasted for three hours. However, the most extended Facebook outage was the one that took place in 2019 and lasted for a day. 

Impact Of Social Media Outage

Social media outage not only affects the communication factor but also has a major impact on the finances of individual users and big companies. More than 3.5 billion people across the globe use Facebook and its family products, which indicates the heavy impact of the outage. The first impact is that in such a situation, most users shift to other competing products to carry on their daily job. Further, it diversifies the users, and they start keeping more than one channel for communication and providing its many services. 

Also, the impact of social media outages is massive on small businesses. Many small businesses depend upon Instagram and Facebook for advertising and selling their products and services. The huge dependency on a single platform creates a problem for small businesses. Whenever any outages happen, the small businesses are forced to shut down temporarily, resulting in revenue loss. 

However, the most profound impact of such outages is on the companies that face this problem. For instance, last year, because of Facebook, the shares of Facebook dipped by 5.4%. Reports also indicate an additional loss of $99.7 million in revenue. This is a significant loss and is usually not ignored by the investors. 

Many financial institutions depend heavily on social media platforms for day-to-day client conversation, especially in the trading industry. The impact of the outage of prominent social media platforms is massive in the trading industry, and its loss became evident last year when the trading market of London, Asia-Pacific and Europe failed to stay in touch with their clients during the busiest time of business. 

Also, a domino effect is created. Many apps and services allow users to log in through their Facebook directly. Without accessibility of Facebook, even signing in to other digital services became an issue. 

One lesson that social media outages provide is that it is crucial for individuals, especially businesses, to diversify their presence on other platforms. Keeping all the eggs in one platform can be a huge mistake. It is essential to break the monopoly to stay safe from the heavy impact of social media outages.