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9-9-9, what is your emergency

Facebook… is dead!

I’m sorry, we can’t help you with that.

You might think I am exaggerating with this, but just ask the Canterbury Police about it. Indeed, people have been calling the police, hopeful that they could find an answer to Facebook’s outage which started yesterday afternoon. It’s become an international emergency—to which Facebook doesn’t seem to have an answer yet.

Our lives have become so intertwined with social media, that platforms like Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat almost feel like an extension of ourselves. I am old enough to have lived through the black and white TV and the rotary phone. I spent my youth in Internet Cafés, trying to friend people on Facebook before it was cool to have 5,000 friends of which you only knew about 20. But despite having lived the better part of my life in a world where social media was not as globalised as it is now, I would feel the impact of Facebook suddenly going away.

This is probably the perfect time for people to reinforce the idea that we spend so much time online, that when there is an outage, we forget what we are supposed to do and how to have fun in the outside world. After all, how can you enjoy your perfect vacation in Bali without sharing an Insta Story of it? The cynical side of me agrees that indeed, we’ve become too dependable on Facebook, together with its apps Instagram and WhatsApp, to the point that now that they’ve forcibly taken some time off, we feel lost, when in fact there is so much more to life than using a device 24/7 for the latest updates.


But here is the thing; Facebook does more than just providing entertainment value for your viewers. Facebook helps businesses and brands in their advertising—and once they are unable to use the Instagram and Facebook promotions, they lose money every hour. As reported by Wonghaus Ventures, the outage cost them around $10,000 so far, and that number keeps going up, as the downtime still continues in some parts of the globe. More than six million advertisers use Facebook, so that translates to dozens of billions lost in advertising.

The most ridiculous part is that Facebook itself loses more money for every minute of outage than most of us make in an entire year. Facebook’s reported revenue for 2018 is $55.8 billion. This means they made $152,876,712 per day, $6,369,863 per hour, and $106,164 per minute. They lose approximately £80,000 per minute; just let that number sink in.


In an ironic twist, Facebook had to resort to Twitter to announce the issues of accessing their website, denying claims that this was related to a DDoS attack, which is a type of hack that involves flooding a company's network. And just like it happened last time WhatsApp was down, Telegram saw an increase of 3 million users overnight. #FacebookDown and #InstagramDown were trending all day on Twitter, because nothing is more delightful than using a social media platform to complain about another social media platform. What does all this tell us? It tells us that there is life after Facebook, but if you’re a brand trying to reach out to your customers, it can come with a cost.

Right now, no one knows when Facebook will be fully operational, but this once again shows us the dangers of having one single company monopolising the market. Because when Facebook is down, Instagram is down too, Oculus VR is down too, and so is WhatsApp.

Snapchat must be feeling really smug right now about refusing that $3 billion Facebook offer!

Alexandra Fechete


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