There was a widespread outage across the Facebook services on Wednesday, March 13, 2019. For almost 24 hours, 2 billion people were unable to access Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp.
By Thursday afternoon, Facebook tweeted…
“Yesterday, as a result of a server configuration change, many people had trouble accessing our apps and services. We’ve now resolved the issues and our systems are recovering. We’re very sorry for the inconvenience and appreciate everyone’s patience.”
But what really happened? Were they attacked? Was there a breach of security?
And more importantly, how did it affect your online business? Do you run advertising campaigns on Facebook?
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What Facebook Says Happened
On Wednesday, around midday, outages started happening for more than 24 hours. These affected parts of the U.S., Europe and elsewhere. It surpassed their last major outage in 2008.
All we heard from them, on Twitter, was that they were aware people were having issues and we’re working to resolve the problem as soon as possible. Then shortly after, they tweeted:
“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”.
What’s a DDoS Attack?
A DDoS attack, which stands for Denial-of-Service attack, is a cyber attack which disrupts online services. The hackers flood the service with requests, effectively overloading the system and shutting it down.
There are about 20K DDoS attacks every single day on the internet. But according to Alex Henthorn-Iwane, vice president of network security firm ThousandEyes, says it’s unlikely that anyone would want to attack Facebook. He says:
“If you’re a DDoS attacker and you’re trying for a big target, and you want to have a big impact, you would probably look for an organization or a brand that doesn’t have as much connectivity to begin with”.
Companies like Facebook, or Google, are so massive, and their interconnectivity is so huge, that they can absorb large scale attacks on their own.
To put it simply, imagine a DDoS target is a well. The data is water. So the smaller the well, the less water it takes to overflow it. Can you imagine what it would take to flood Facebook? The Gulf of Mexico? LOL.
What People Were Saying
Many people took to Twitter to air their frustrations. Despite the rumours and wild proclamations by conspiracy theorists, Facebook blamed a “server configuration change” for the platform’s longest ever outage.
But there were some who noticed the coincidence of this outage with a New York Times’s article published the same day. It was titled “Facebook’s Data Deals Are Under Criminal Investigation“.
A reported list of 150 companies, including the likes of Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and Sony, had sharing deals with Facebook, to let the companies see specific data on users without their consent. And the “Cambridge” investigation is also still active.
So as I’ve always said… Beware what you post online… It can come back to bite you, LOL.
Surprisingly, not much more is being said by Facebook, to the frustration of both users and media. This was the biggest interruption to Facebook-owned services, and it even affected their stock prices. By Thursday morning, Facebook stock fell nearly 3%.
Those in Washington, calling for the break-up of Facebook, said this just showed how these platforms are dangerous for consumers. The more integrated the platform (Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp), the greater the risk for more epic failures like this one.
What Are You Saying?
Are you a user of Facebook? Most people are these days, with the younger generation using Instagram more than Facebook itself.
Do you have an online business that uses these platforms to run your campaigns? How did it affect you?
I know of many people who use Facebook exclusively for business, running advertising campaigns to make money online. And even though many of us marketers tell entrepreneurs not to put all their eggs in one basket, many still do.
That’s usually because there are products out there, that convince people that their “secret” system will make them big money. Except that it usually involves made-for-you material to post to Facebook. (They never work, by the way…)
This is why you can’t rely on 3rd party platforms like Facebook. Yes, the outage was just for a day, but what happens next time. Whether it’s a judiciary decision or their own, there’s always the risk of shutting down the entire platform.
And if this happens, what are you going to do? You’ll have to start all over somewhere else.
The best way to weather storms like this is to have an online business that’s independent of 3rd party platforms.
How To Protect Your Business
Sure you can still use social media platforms for advertising and running your campaigns, but you won’t be dependant on them for your survival.
When you create your own website, it’s home to everything you do.
- It’s where you send your visitors to learn about the products or services you recommend.
- It’s where you publish all your content, landing pages, PDF’s, embedded videos & webinars, etc.
- It’s where you have your contact information and “About You” page to earn your reader’s trust.
- It’s your online business card.
- It’s a reflection of you and your business…Your brand.
- It’s yours to control.
With your own website, you can create many streams of income, but they are all directed to your website. Simply use the platforms that are currently available, such as social media, your email list, content marketing, etc., to drive traffic to your website.
And if a social media platform should suddenly shut down, you adapt and find another medium to use. This way, you’re entire business won’t be affected by one change. Your income is coming from many sources. That’s the best way to ensure that there’s always money coming in!
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So how active are you on Facebook? Did this outage affect you? Please share your thoughts below in the comment section. And if you have any questions for me, please let me know. I’d love to help.