The day the metaphorical and literal lights went out at Facebook

The day the metaphorical and literal lights went out at Facebook

As most of you are aware, yesterday was essentially D-Day for social agencies and teams across the world as Facebook and its sub brands suffered their biggest outage in over a decade. But what exactly happened and what were the ramifications of it?

Just before 5pm (BST) Facebook suffered an internal update malfunction due to a server error. Simply put, the Facebook computers stopped communicating with each other and the DNS that is used to find Facebook services on the internet stopped working. Facebook have publicly blamed the issue on a faulty configuration change but haven’t elaborated.

Due to this, all branded content scheduled across the globe didn’t go live on Facebook, Instagram or on any of their paid media services. Content scheduled didn’t go live and if it was posted just before the outage, engagement was hindered completely.

While a six hour outage doesn’t seem long, coincidentally this is also the average life span of a social post and on top of that; 75% of the impressions and engagement happen (on average) in the first 2 hours and 30 minutes. So Social Media Managers across the globe had to think on their feet and adapt accordingly.

Working in Social you tend to have to be on top of trends constantly so this was just another day at the office as client posts had to be reshuffled and reallocated across calendars. Here at the tree; we have a structured crisis control process to mitigate this. Clients were made aware within the hour and all content was either adapted for other platforms or rescheduled for another day.

To keep it short and simple here’s some top tips in an internet-friendly listical to help all you brands out there adapt inevitably the next time this happens:

Channel diversity is a must! 

Hopefully we’ll never see a day when ALL platforms are down but it’s always good to expand your offering as best as possible. Utilise as many platforms as possible and expand out content to be platform specific so if this happens again you’ve got your bases covered.   


Keep up to date on your brands community management

As soon as something like this happens - you need to be involved in the conversation. Think about key focus topics and keep talking on whatever platform is available.


Put safeguards in place to protect yourself and the brand

Make sure your crisis process is up to date and you and your team are ready at any moment to think fast.

Think fast

As soon as something like this happens, it’s gonna feel like all hell as broken loose. Keep calm and think about the actionable solutions.


Keep your content adaptable

When planning content make sure there’s a version for every platform available. If the feed goes down for Instagram, adapt the content for stories. 30 second video? Cut it down to 15 and you might have a viral TikTok on your hands.


Being essentially the only platforms that were live, Twitter, TikTok and LinkedIn were flooded with memes (mainly Squid Games related) and brands pushed their content to these platforms. Some also shifted their TOV to have a more humorous tone as they took to Twitter and vented their frustration as 6 hours felt like 6 months waiting for the platforms to be live again.  

In the end there’s one lesson to be learned from all this - adapt constantly. Social Media is a constantly shifting ecosphere and the lights can go out at anytime.