The Great Facebook Outage of 2021: SPM Group’s P.O.V

As you may know, on Monday, October 6th, Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp experienced a six-hour outage. The company credited this outage to a faulty backbone network check that unexpectedly caused the network to shut down. This shutdown happened following the release of a 60 Minutes episode where former Facebook Product Manager, Frances Haugen, revealed thousands of pages of documents exposing the harmful business practices that Facebook takes part in to optimize their own business.

In her interview, Haugen stated, "We have evidence from a variety of sources that hate speech, divisive political speech and misinformation on Facebook and the family of apps are affecting societies around the world."

Even though there has been speculation on social media that these two events are connected, Facebook states that it is coincidental. Regardless of their correlation, The Wall Street Journal has proven that Facebook was made aware of the negative impact that Instagram has on the mental health of its users. Nevertheless, their financial pursuits took precedence over making notable changes to combat the issue.

Both Facebook and Instagram are not the only platforms that have an effect on users’ mental health. Other social media platforms, such as TikTok and Twitter, can also have a negative impact on mental health. According to a MarketWatch article published in September 2021, “Study after study has shown that time spent on these platforms can disrupt sleep and expose teens to bullying and unrealistic views of other people’s lives. Links have been observed between high levels of social media use and depression or anxiety symptoms.”

Despite the Facebook outage and all of Haugen’s claims, brands have continued to operate and advertise on the platform. Facebook’s popularity and reach make it difficult for companies to abandon the platform altogether, even if companies are concerned with the shut down and the controversy that has arisen. But this is not the first time that Facebook and Instagram have shut down. In March of 2019, both platforms went offline for a few hours.

At SPM Group, we will continue to offer social media platforms as a tool to promote your organization. We do understand that every client has different goals and values, and according to eMarketer, brand safety concerns alone aren’t going to drive most advertisers away from Facebook. We are aware that social media is still an integral part of most media plans—however, moving forward, we encourage clients to explore appropriate alternatives such as email marketing, search engine marketing (SEM), and programmatic marketing to reach audiences through a more diversified approach. If you’re unsure whether your organization wants to continue using social media, please reference the questionnaire below.

Promotional Strategy Questionnaire

Is your company concerned about promoting on social media, in light of recent controversies?

If yes, speak with your SPM Planner and consider the following:

What is your goal for promoting on social media?

  • Brand Awareness?
  • Audience Expansion?
  • Engagement?
  • Other?

Are your audiences active users of social media?

  • No
  • Yes, my audience primarily uses Instagram
  • Yes, my audience primarily uses Facebook
  • Yes, my audience primarily uses Twitter
  • Yes, my audience primarily uses most platforms

Is this audience concerned about any of the following?

  • Privacy?
  • Children’s Mental Health?
  • Misinformation?

If you decide that specific social media platforms don’t align with your brand, SPM can create a unique strategy using a variety of vehicles to promote your campaign.

Want to learn more? Contact SPM Group a