DENVER (KDVR) — A global outage of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp sent users into a frenzy Monday and set back businesses that rely on the platforms.
The social media apps were back online roughly six hours after the outage started. In a statement, Facebook said configuration changes on the backbone routers that coordinate network traffic caused issues and interrupted communication.
Dr. Casey Fiesler is an assistant professor of information science at University of Colorado Boulder, specializing in technology and social media ethics.
“This might have made people realize how dependent they might be on it,” said Fiesler, talking about the outage. “In a given day, how many times do you just randomly fire up Facebook on your phone or a browser?”
Fiesler said it’s difficult to step away from a platform as powerful as Facebook.
“This is partly because Facebook has become so deeply embedded in the social, structural fabric of our society,” Fiesler said.
Businesses can get relief when platforms they rely on are down
Businesses that rely on the platform to market products or services were shut out.
Mitch Tanenbaum, chief information security officer for Cyber Cecurity, LLC, said there are tools business owners can utilize to protect themselves in the event of another major outage, including business interruption insurance.
“Business interruption insurance can include when there’s an interruption at a third party that’s critical to your business. If you have the right insurance, that claim would be honored because that’s what it’s for,” Tanenbaum said.
He said an outage of the magnitude is rare but can happen.
“Just because things have been reliable, historically doesn’t mean I should assume that they’re going to be reliable in the future,” Tanenbaum said.