Tuesday, 5 October 2021 by Ian Ebden
Never put all your eggs in one basket. It's an old adage, but one that perhaps resonates more strongly with some this morning as they contemplate another Facebook network outage. Has Facebook and big tech become too powerful? Has having Facebook as the main driver of your business now become too much of a risk?
Full disclosure - Neither DesignKarma or me personally, have ever had a Facebook account. I'm kind of a private person, and find Facebook creepy and I'm uneasy with the way it tries to manipulate public opinion on all sorts of things. I do use WhatsApp though, and sometimes Instagram.
So what actually happened?
Facebook published details of what happened yesterday, but the problem essentially began with an internal configuration change that affected their entire network. That meant Facebook and their other services disappeared from the Internet for at least 5 hours. Apparently, Facebook engineers were even locked out of their own data centres after their passes stopped working.
The NetBlocks Cost of Shutdown Tool (COST) estimated yesterday's outage had a total economic impact of a whopping $968 million on the global economy. With so many businesses depending so heavily on Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram (among other tech giant platforms) it's sure to have many business owners reassessing that relationship.
In today's increasingly risk-averse society, it seems sensible for business owners to rethink who owns and controls their content. What are the risks involved in relying too heavily on platforms like Facebook to reach your audience, rather than using your own website? What happens if/when Facebook goes down again, or decides to censor or ban your content because it doesn't fit with their rules, or whatever agenda they are promoting at the time? What if they decide to favour one business, product, service or sector over yours?
Take back control
Wouldn't you rather control your own destiny, rather than leave it in the hands of big tech? Perhaps this latest outage is a wake up call - a sign that businesses should begin to take back their digital sovereignty. Refocus on their own websites and apps. Perhaps it's already started, with government lockdowns forcing businesses online to survive, and often thrive.
You could consider the Facebook outage as a sort of accidental digital lockdown, that will now force others to seek freedom outside of Facebook's 'walled garden'.