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Global Facebook outage shows over-reliance on the social network, analysts suggest

The recent global Facebook outage has demonstrated that organisations are over-reliant on the social media giant to maintain their business operations, analysts have argued.

user iconReporter
Tue, 05 Oct 2021
Global Facebook outage shows over-reliance on the social network, analysts suggest
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Some 3.5 billion people saw access to their social media networks interrupted earlier this week, with Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram’s operations disrupted for up to six hours across the globe.

According to a release from Facebook, the service was down because of a “faulty configuration change”.

Despite coming back online after six hours, the outage caused Facebook’s stocks to drop by some 5 per cent wiping almost $7 billion from Mark Zuckerberg’s personal wealth.

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Analysts have however suggested that the recent outage proves that businesses are over reliant on the social media giant to sustain their business operations.

Major General (Ret’d) Marcus Thompson, senior advisor at the Macquarie Telecom Group and co-host of the Cyber Security Uncut podcast explained that many businesses were left without other means of reaching clientele during the outage.

“Thousands of Australian organisations large and small, commercial enterprises and not-for-profits rely on Facebook to operate and have woken up today with no alternative platform to reach their stakeholders,” MAJGEN Thompson explained.

“That this is happening during the pandemic – on the cusp of the easing of restrictions when social media marketing will be critical in helping many businesses bounce back – makes the situation even worse.

“The outage highlights the over-reliance Australian businesses have on international digital platforms and systems. When cyber attacks or other disruptions inevitably strike these international platforms, with no local, sovereign networks, infrastructure or methods to fall back on, we’re at the whim of clean-up and remedial measures taking place half a world away."

“In Australia we have some of the greatest data and security skills in the world, but we don’t leverage them nearly enough to help us connect with each other and with the wider world. Events like this and the recent Fastly outage demonstrate the thin tightrope we’re walking on when we rely on companies in other countries for critical digital services and infrastructure.”

Barry Silic, chief technology officer, cloud and cybersecurity at Macquarie Telecom Group outlined that organisations shouldn’t keep cyber breaches secret fearing reputational damage, rather address the penetration immediately to mitigate further fallout.

“As we wait to hear the cause of the Facebook outage, it’s important we focus less on pointing fingers and more on starting a meaningful conversation,” Silic said.

“Every business will experience a cyber attack or a human error at some stage, and if organisations become too afraid to speak up in case their name is splashed on a headline, we will see an increasing amount of incidents go unreported."

“Cybercrime losses across Australia totalled $33 billion last year, and this figure will not decrease until we encourage leaders to move past their fear of reputational damage, realise that even the best companies have holes in their cyber security posture and ask for help.”

[Related: WhatsApp fined US$267m over European GDPR rules]

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