A few weeks ago, my editor messaged me about an Instagram roundup I was writing about beautiful gray hair.
“It seems that some of the photos were removed from Instagram,” she told me, before asking if I could rework the article with new posts.
I was perplexed. I edited the listicle a day earlier and all the posts were up. Plus, the Instagram posts I was using were old (some had been up for years). How could not one but multiple posts be taken down so suddenly?
It turns out that the posts hadn’t been taken down. It was Instagram that was down.
Facebook and Instagram experienced their most severe outage ever that lasted almost 14 hours in March this year.
For the average internet user like me, a 14-hour social network outage is annoying at best. And really, it just means we have to take a short break from social media and focus on other things. But the message from my editor got me thinking, what do glitches in social media mean for people who rely on social media for their jobs?
The Facebook and Instagram outage hit business owners and working people across the globe pretty hard. Luckily, Twitter was still up and running and offered the perfect platform for users to vent their frustrations.
— Stella Dee (@stellarelites) March 13, 2019
— Steve Moskowitz (@moskowitz_steve) March 13, 2019
Not only did the outage affect people whose businesses rely on Facebook and Instagram but it also affected people who need these social platforms for business communication. BBC reports that Rebecca Brooker, a Buenos Aires-based designer, said that the outage played a detrimental role in her firm’s work. This is because her firm uses Facebook Workplace for primary communication.
Facebook attributed the outage to a server configuration change.
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.
— Facebook (@facebook) March 14, 2019
Instagram and Whatsapp, which are owned by Facebook, also experienced glitches during this time.
— Mark (@Biwx99) April 14, 2019
Anddddd… we're back. pic.twitter.com/5E8UdlcsPJ
— Instagram (@instagram) March 14, 2019
Less than a month later, Facebook and Instagram experienced a second outage. As infuriating as these outages are, they have also acted as an important reminder for businesses to not rely solely on Facebook and Instagram. It is a reality that many marketers rely heavily on social media for their work. Many Twitter users have quickly reminded marketers about the importance of using multiple platforms for their work.
I hope all of you who make Facebook and Instagram your primary digital space have woken up. Doing so has been, and always will be, a poor business strategy! You don't own those platforms!#SMBs #Facebookdown #InstagramDown pic.twitter.com/ocu4Pr896c
— Arleen Boyd (@ArleenBBoyd) March 14, 2019
If #Facebookdown and #Instagramdown taught you anything, it's that you should always have another #platform to #Advertise your #business on. #LInkedIn is especially crucial today. And you can do everything you do already on #Facebook and #Instagram. #SocialMediaMarketing pic.twitter.com/uTt0fz4ibJ
— Stephanie Sweet (@SweetStephanie7) April 14, 2019
Impact reports that Facebook marketer, Ali Parmelee, advises all marketers to implement a multi-channel approach. While Facebook and Instagram provide huge opportunities for brand management and sales, marketers shouldn’t neglect other platforms like email mailing lists. She went onto advise marketers in using these alternative lines of communication to keep all their clients and stakeholders in the loop when issues occur.
Ali explains, “Unfortunately, this is just going to happen in a digital world. Sometimes you just have to roll with it – the show must go on!”