Does Facebook now face an uncertain future?
With Facebook going down on 4 October for several hours, users and businesses have been left wondering as to where to now for the social media giant
Many people remember the day that Blackberry messenger went down for over 24 hours leaving users high and dry, unable to communicate with friends, and businesspeople unable to, well, do business. Although Blackberry changed tack to replace BBM in May 2019 with BBM enterprise, it was too little too late and with it failing to move with times and change its business model, iPhone soon dominated the market. BlackBerry may still have users, but it’s lost its mojo and so it came as no surprise to many that the corporation announced that it would no longer be making devices of its own, with Telephone Communication Limited picking up the license.
Then it all happened again on October 4, 2021. Facebook went down, and people were left unable to communicate from just before 5pm on WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook messenger and Workplace. The fallout was widespread with Late Night comedy show host Jimmy Fallon taking a dig at Facebook saying, “Facebook was down for only one day and in that short time, everyone got the vaccine.”
London-based internet monitoring firm NetBlocks estimated that the outage of Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, and Messenger cost the global economy about $1 billion, and it came as no surprise that the Facebook share price plummeted, and Mark Zuckerberg lost $7bn. What’s more, the network outage could have left a back door open to hackers, and potentially user data leaks, which would have led to Facebook facing billions of dollars in fines. Luckily it didn’t, but it could have.
Now while Facebook, unlike Blackberry, is progressive enough to ensure business continuity today, tomorrow and into the future, it does bear asking the question as to whether or not it needs to upskill individuals to work out ways to ensure that this problem never occurs again or persists for the length of time it took to bring things back online again. In 2019 Facebook took the decision to integrate Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp which allowed users to send messages without switching apps. While this provided a massive level of convenience for users, it left Facebook facing the very real danger that if one went down, they all went down. A genius idea, but after what was experienced yesterday, a somewhat dangerous ploy. World businesses will now surely be casting a keen eye on Facebook, as it looks to see how the corporation will go about making some key decisions to alter its decision-making and technical approach to business continuity.
Forbes denotes that Facebook needs to avoid what is unmanageable and manage what is unavoidable saying that their ability to change could be a blueprint for agile leadership and that also entails upskilling their employees to ensure that they are agile enough to succeed and stay resilient in the midst of the stressors that change creates.
It goes on to say that now, Facebook’s technologists must create a set of as-yet-undetermined innovations which will require a profound understanding of where their current customers – and the world’s governments – are going culturally. Innovation leads to USPs, USPs lead to more customers, and more customers leads to improved profitability and greater market share. A simple equation. This is why even a massive corporation like Facebook needs to move with the times and never rest on its laurels. To enable this process, corporations need to look inwardly as well as outwardly. Their people need to keep learning to enable them to transcend traditional boundaries.
Will this outage lead to users questioning their loyalty to Facebook and its range of communications apps? Probably not. What we will surely now see due to it, is the continued rise of blockchain, companies working towards reducing cybersecurity threats and data leaks that may occur due to network outages, and communications companies taking a closer look at whether their systems could also go down, damaging their reputation, like Blackberry, for good.
So, what now for Facebook? Possibly some soul searching, but they at least need to work out ways to counter network issues, putting steps in place to ensure this problem never happens again. Because if it does, Billionaires Brian Acton and Pavel Durov who developed the communications app, Signal, will surely be there to pick up the pieces and in so doing, gain users and market share.
Mark is a college graduate with Honours in Copywriting. He is the Content Marketing Manager at Nexford, creating engaging, thought-provoking, and action-oriented content.
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