Facebook, Instagram Outage Cost Company an Estimated $100 Million

Krakow, Poland - March 27, 2011: HTC Desire Z phone isolated on grey background with open keyboard showing the mobile version of the facebook social network.
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The extended outage that hit Facebook on Monday, leaving thousands of users without their favorite social media fix for more than seven hours, cost the company about $100 million in revenue, according to an estimate from Fortune.

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Fortune put the exact figure at $99.75 million. That’s based on Facebook’s second-quarter revenue of $29.08 billion over a 91-day period, which works out to an average of $319.6 million per day, or $13.3 million per hour. The figure doesn’t account for peak traffic periods or days of the week.

As Fortune noted, Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger all went down at around 11:30 a.m. ET., according to DownDetector, an outage tracking site. The platforms came back online shortly after 7 p.m. ET.

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Down Detector logged tens of thousands of reports from frustrated or confused users for each of the platforms, CNN reported. While Facebook’s own site wouldn’t load at all, users could access Instagram and WhatsApp, but couldn’t load new content or send messages.

In the social media universe, seven-and-a-half hours of disrupted service involving Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp constitutes a major online event.

“I don’t know If I’ve seen an outage like this before from a major internet firm,” Doug Madory, director of internet analysis at network monitoring firm Kentik, told CNN.

It was another in a recent string of bad news for Facebook. The company’s stock was already getting hit Monday following a whistleblower report claiming that Facebook routinely chose profit over safety. Former Facebook product manager Frances Haugen told “60 Minutes” on Sunday that she’s the one who leaked internal Facebook documents to The Wall Street Journal as well as lawmakers, an event that has led to increased public scrutiny of the social media powerhouse.

Haugen also told “60 Minutes” that Facebook prematurely deactivated certain safeguards meant to prevent the spread of misinformation and offensive content after the 2020 U.S. presidential election, Fortune reported. She believes that decision played a major role in the Jan. 6 Capitol Riots.

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Facebook has largely remained tight-lipped on its recent controversies and downplayed the importance of the leaked documents.

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The company is not likely to feel much financial pain from the $100 million hit it took from Monday’s interrupted service, considering it makes that much money in less than half a day. Facebook’s $29.08 billion in second-quarter revenue represented a 56% gain from the prior year, and its earnings for the quarter roughly doubled.

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About the Author

Vance Cariaga is a London-based writer, editor and journalist who previously held staff positions at Investor’s Business Daily, The Charlotte Business Journal and The Charlotte Observer. His work also appeared in Charlotte Magazine, Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Business North Carolina magazine. He holds a B.A. in English from Appalachian State University and studied journalism at the University of South Carolina. His reporting earned awards from the North Carolina Press Association, the Green Eyeshade Awards and AlterNet. In addition to journalism, he has worked in banking, accounting and restaurant management. A native of North Carolina who also writes fiction, Vance’s short story, “Saint Christopher,” placed second in the 2019 Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. Two of his short stories appear in With One Eye on the Cows, an anthology published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2019. His debut novel, Voodoo Hideaway, was published in 2021 by Atmosphere Press.
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