Article

Ruth Mathias
Ruth Mathias 23 June 2014
Categories Social Media

#Facebookdown But Certainly Not Out

Facebook crashed last week, adding to ongoing negative speculation. Is this the beginning of the end for Facebook?

Well, we didn’t see that one coming – Facebook, the number one social media network that, according to Mark Zuckerberg would “never go down”, went down for the longest period in four years on Thursday 19th June!

 

In case you missed it (where were you?!), check out The Guardian’s blow by blow account of how the worldwide mass ‘panic’ escalated during those terrifying 31 minutes of users not being able to post, like, comment or rant about their Thursday morning commuting and/or work woes. Serial Facebookers were left bewildered and questioning their very existence without the ability to cyberstalk friends and incite jealousy about their impending Glastonbury shenanigans!


Well, actually no. That really wasn’t the case…

 

Facebook users instead got on with their day and focused their attention on meaningful tasks and human interaction…and Twitter – of course!

Twitter to the rescue…

Cue an abundance of entertaining tweets of mock panic, with #facebookdown soon trending worldwide.

 

World order was soon restored though when Facebook was back online 31 minutes later – panic over! Cue more hilarious tweets about how users got through the ‘ordeal’, and the turn of #WhenFacebookWasDown to trend worldwide, prolonging Facebook’s main rival Twitter’s spike in traffic.

Beginning of the end for Facebook? 

The last large scale Facebook outage was in 2010, when a server error caused the site to be down for 2.5 hours.

 

Facebook has received a fair amount of negative attention recently, with some critics commenting on the platform’s waning popularity, particularly with its younger audiences – historically its primary demographic.  Others are warning users to abandon the site due to its unsolicited invasion of our privacy. The recent confirmation from Britain’s spy agency GCHQ that its agents actively monitor users’ social media activity, including Facebook, thanks to a loophole in current privacy laws hasn’t helped alleviate such privacy concerns – although obviously this is out of Facebook’s control.

Advertising affecting user experience

As Facebook continues to develop more sophisticated targeting for advertisers on the platform, this is another frustration for users complaining of the effect this has on user experience. The use of Ad blocker software to strip out ads on Facebook continues to rise. Could this trend significantly impact Facebook’s colossal advertising revenues?

WhatsApp – a good move?

Some commentators have suggested that Facebook’s largest acquisition – WhatsApp – to date earlier this year is part of a “desperate” strategy to regain lost users and appeal.

Facebook here to stay

However, with the continuing, unparalleled rise of messaging apps – particularly with younger audiences – presenting opportunities for monetization, it seems the WhatsApp acquisition may well have been a very smart move from Zuckerberg.

 

What’s more, Facebook’s enhanced ad targeting capabilities have only served to increase ad pricing and significantly boost advertising revenues.

#facebookdown > Facebook up?

So, while on the surface this system error may be considered as potentially damaging Facebook’s reputation as a technological innovator, it certainly got the world talking and put Facebook (ok, and Twitter) front and centre of the news agenda – particularly in the social media arena.


Now, that’s some pretty decent PR coverage right there if you ask me!

 

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