Ways Facebook outages have a ripple effect on other companies

Image credit: Pixabay
From time to time Facebook suffers outages. With so many people dependent upon the network these days, and a 1 billion+ membership, any downtime is definitely noticed.
One of the most significant outages the network has ever suffered was on Sept. 23, 2010, and, at the time, was described as the worst outage in four years. The site had been down for approximately 2.5 hours and was rendered inoperable. Two years later, another widespread outage occurred.

Any level of downtime for business results in a negative effect. Granted, while some businesses suffer more greatly during downtime than others, the reality is any amount of time a business is inoperable due to technical or other difficulties does not fare well. The reason for this is multi-fold because an outage affects both profitability and user satisfaction and, in the modern world, both elements are of primary importance for various reasons, especially if other companies and individuals rely upon Facebook as a part of their business plans.

For a network like Facebook, the result of major outages was not as disastrous as they could have been due to problems being quickly resolved, but this does not mean it won't necessarily go without issue, especially if this kind of event were to continue to frequently occur.
Here are a few ways Facebook outages impact business:

Ripple effect

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When Facebook went down, not only could users not log in and catch up on the latest doings or contact clients and connections during an outage, Facebook downtime resulted in a ripple effect for other businesses and users across the web. Businesses that depend upon Facebook cannot conduct their activities if they can't access their accounts.

Additionally, since the inception of the "Like" button, people all across the web share their favorite pages with others on Facebook. When Facebook is down, the rest of the web which employs the "Like" button is peppered with error messages on their pages. This doesn't look appealing, and other websites may second guess their decision to employ these buttons if outages were to happen repeatedly.

Frustrated users

If users are unhappy, this discontent could lead to higher levels of frustration. Now a one-time outage would likely not have any long term effects, but frequent outages might result in people abandoning the network and looking at other options.
Kym McNichols wrote on Forbes, "Do I sound bitter? Maybe because I can’t access several important contacts, and have nothing better to do than blog at this point. Lesson learned…always have a back-up plan!"
McNichols is, by far, not the only user out there that relies on Facebook. This kind of event will make members take notice that they should not necessarily put all of their proverbial eggs in one basket. As a result, Facebook could lose a segment of their market, especially if alternative options are more reliable.
Image credit: Pixabay

Reliability

Reliability is an important consideration because people come to depend upon a product or service, and in the case of Facebook, you're talking over 500 million people looking to stream and find information. When those who have become reliant upon the network, either for personal or business purposes, lose access, this could be a problem as McNichols indicates.

Advertisers

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Another thing businesses have to consider are the advertisers who pay to display ads on the network. When Facebook goes down, so does the visibility of these other businesses. Not an insignificant detail to overlook.

Although an outage, such as the major ones which have impacted Facebook in the past, can do damage, how a company responds is paramount. Considering the extent of the problem, a two and a half hour outage isn't all that bad. Facebook quickly resolved the problem, then posted an explanation and an apology.

Additionally, the social network giant provided a level of transparency which fosters trust in the business/client relationship. This fares better than a business that either pushes the blame elsewhere and/or doesn't offer any information to the public. Taking responsibility is the best way to handle an interruption.

Are these types of outages a perfect scenario? No, however, chances are the extended outages will not have long-term negative effects for the networking giant; not with 1 billion members still clamoring to log into the network. If the privacy issues didn't deter users, a little outage now and then likely won't either. As long as those outages remain far and few in between. However, if they were to occur more frequently, Facebook may find itself losing some traffic and/or advertisers, which would then affect other companies who may turn to alternative methods of promotion and outreach.

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