Facebook’s shutdown cost local businesses time and money.
What we think:
Facebook is not a friend to business.
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Facebook’s had a tough couple of months. Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg had to appear before Congress about his company’s efforts (or lack thereof) to stop misinformation and propaganda spreading from Russia and China. More recently, a whistleblower says there’s an all-consuming emphasis on profits at the social media giant — and much less concern for truth.
And then came the hours-long shutdown — the longest and largest of Facebook’s history. And as it turns out, it wasn’t only bad for Facebook. Businesses who rely on the platform were harmed as well.
It’s one thing to be unable to post photos of your breakfast for your family and friends, another entirely to lose hours of profits and sales because of an overreliance on an unreliable company.
While it doesn’t seem likely that the platform’s demise will come anytime soon, it’s clear that companies shouldn’t put all their marketing plans, product announcements and sales strategy onto a single digital platform. Early estimates show that business losses from the six-hour downtime equaled around $300 billion — much of that from small and micro business owners.
Facebook’s response: A half-hearted apology. But no promises of making those losses up to the businesses it relies on for its massive profits and no guarantees that future outages won’t occur.
It’s time to move on. Social media, once the greatest promise for business connection and sales, is now unreliable and divisive.
Business should take some of the money they have budgeted for Facebook and Instagram (a Facebook product) and spend it on their own websites, their own marketing. They should be calling the shots, not some behemoth that relies far too much on algorithms — and far too little on actual human connections.
The rules change so frequently, always in the social media company’s favor — leaving small and micro-businesses to figure out how to navigate the complex process on their own.
It’s clear from last week’s outage that entire nations are overly reliant on Facebook and WhatsApp messaging, using it to communicate both personally and professionally. The company is too large, too unwieldy and too unreliable for that to continue.
Doing business digitally is here to stay. It just doesn’t have to be via Facebook, Instagram or any of the company’s other products. It’s time to examine how much time and money goes to the corporate giant — and determine if there are other options that are more in control of business owners.
That’s easier said than done; CSBJ uses Facebook to promote journalism and events. But let’s face it — Facebook doesn’t care about Colorado Springs, journalism or connections. It’s interested in profits. And businesses that focus on profits to the exclusion of everything else tend to falter. If we are seeing Facebook go the way of MySpace, businesses need to make sure they have other options.