Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp down – what did it mean for artists?
Is it time to think about whether your art business is independent of social media – or too dependent on Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp?
I’m guessing that quite a few businesses around the world are reassessing how they do business on social media after the major outage for Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp yesterday.
3.5 billion people/companies were left twiddling their thumbs – and inspecting Twitter and Downdetector on a regular basis!
Of course once upon a time, Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp were three separate entities – but if anybody needed telling they all belong to Facebook, they’ll know full well after yesterday. (Instagram was acquired in 2012 and WhatsApp in 2014).
For lots of people their whole business model lost its profile on the internet – and associated sales.
Bear in mind previous outages lasted not much more than an hour. As we went past the two hour mark, it was very apparent that what had caused it was really serious AND they didn’t know what hd happened and how to fix it. The corollary of this is that next time it could be days…..
There’s quite a few artists reappraising how they use social media to market their art on the internet after yesterday.
Such as Jim
Plus there’s quite a few articles pondering on what happened and whether it was a bit of a wake-up call.
Here’s some of them – which you can read at your leisure.
- Are the arts too reliant on socials? | ArtsHub (Australia) – which HIGHLIGHTS the Pros and Cons of the different social media platforms – and why you need a presence if you want to promote your art online.
As the internet went into panic and outage memes showered Twitter (one of the only social platforms still working), users were left re-thinking their daily reliance on social media accounts.
Over the past decade social media has transformed the way artists interact with each other and their audiences. It’s opened a wealth of opportunities, and platforms like Facebook and Instagram have become essential spaces for emerging artists to share and sell their work.
But this relationship between art and social media is complicated. Why? Because art pushes the boundaries, and social media enforces them.
- Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp Suffer Worldwide Outage | Billboard – which highlighted the implications for whether this mega social media group can be allowed to continue. Right on top of allegations that Facebook has complete disregard for the harms that some of its products can do to some of its users. My expectation is that this incident will have rollout and repercussions which Facebook might not like….
It also showed that, despite the presence of Twitter, Telegram, Signal, TikTok, Snapchat and a bevy of other platforms, nothing can truly replace the social network that has evolved in 17 years into all but critical infrastructure. Facebook’s request Monday that a revised antitrust complaint against it by the Federal Trade Commission be dismissed because it faces vigorous competition from other services seemed to ring a bit hollow.
More generic (non-art specific) comments on the outage came from the better known publications – in print and online.
- Gone in Minutes, Out for Hours: Outage Shakes Facebook | New York Times – which comment extensively on the much wider implications for how the lack of the platform impacted in very many different ways
“Today’s outage brought our reliance on Facebook — and its properties like WhatsApp and Instagram — into sharp relief,” said Brooke Erin Duffy, a professor of communications at Cornell University. “The abruptness of today’s outage highlights the staggering level of precarity that structures our increasingly digitally mediated work economy.”
- Facebook is back online after a massive outage that also took down Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger, and Oculus | The Verge – which comments extensively on what happened to employees INSIDE Facebook!
Inside Facebook, the outage has broken nearly all of the internal systems employees use to communicate and work. Several employees told The Verge they resorted to talking through their work-provided Outlook email accounts, though employees can’t receive emails from external addresses. Employees who were logged into work tools such as Google Docs and Zoom before the outage can still use those, but any employee who needs to log in with their work email was blocked.
- Facebook is down – but you can still get your misinformation fix | The Guardian – some truisms and some good jokes!
Facebook has said it is working to understand what happened so it can “make our infrastructure more resilient”. Tech experts have described the issue as being akin to the social media giant falling off the internet’s map, so it could not be found.The company said there was “no evidence that user data was compromised”.The outage comes at a particularly difficult time for the company, which is finding itself increasingly under pressure over its reach and impact on society.