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Facebook’s Catastrophic Blackout Could Cost $90 Million in Lost Revenue

Last Updated October 3, 2020 6:51 PM
Ben Brown
Last Updated October 3, 2020 6:51 PM

Facebook suffered its worst-ever outage on Wednesday 13th March. The downtime, which also hit related products Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp, lasted for at least 14 hours.

The blackout hit millions of users across the globe and caused Facebook stock to tumble 2 percent in after-hours trading.

Every minute that Facebook is offline costs an enormous amount of money. By extrapolating from the company’s 2018 revenue figures , we can estimate that yesterday’s blackout could cost Facebook up to $90 million in lost revenue.

Facebook Loses $6.3 Million for Every Hour of Downtime

In 2018, Facebook reported $55.8 billion in revenue. Broken down into days, hours, and minutes, it looks like this:

  • Annual: $55.8 billion
  • Daily: $152.9 million
  • Hourly: $6.4 million
  • Every minute: $106,700

With Facebook’s services down for up to 14 hours, we can estimate that the social media giant faces an $89.6 million loss in revenue from advertisers.

Of course, the figures are not 100% accurate. The blackout appears to be partial, and we don’t yet know how many users were fully affected. But even if it’s a half or quarter this figure, that’s an enormous loss.

Facebook Stock Plunges 2%

The potential loss of revenue is enough to worry traders. Facebook stock plunged 2 percent in after-hours trading as investors digested the impact of the outage.

Facebook downtime stock crash
Facebook stock is down over 2 percent in pre-market trading after an epic blackout. Source: Google Finance

Until Facebook reveals more about the downtime and implications on revenue, traders are anticipating the worst.

It comes after Facebook’s strong 31 percent stock run in 2019 alone. 

Facebook’s “Worst Ever” Downtime

Facebook acknowledged its blackout at 5.49pm UTC with a tweet. Yes, the irony of Facebook taking to Twitter to update its users is not lost on us! Many users trying to access the service received the error message:

“We’re aware that some people are currently having trouble accessing the Facebook family of apps. We’re working to resolve the issue as soon as possible”

According to Downdetector , the error reports peaked overnight, with most issues resolved by morning.

Facebook downtime reports
Facebook downtime reports peaked at 2 am UTC. Source: Downdetector

Facebook confirmed the downtime was not a result of a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack, in which malicious actors flood the servers. The full reason for the disruption has not been released.

Is Facebook Back Online Yet?

As of Thursday morning, Facebook appears to be back online for most users. However, there are still pockets of disruption in Europe, Japan, and the US according to Downdetector’s heat map.

Facebook downtime map
Global map depicting the massive outage. Source: Downdetector

Instagram is back online, announcing the news with an Oprah Winfrey gif.

Should We Trust a Facebook Cryptocurrency?

As CCN.com has reported, Facebook is working on the launch of “FacebookCoin.” It’s a stablecoin, pegged to the US dollar, that would allow peer-to-peer payments within its Messenger app. One analyst at Barclays claims it could give the company a $19 billion revenue injection.

This blackout, however, proves that Facebook isn’t ready to offer a reliable cryptocurrency. Not being able to update your status is one thing. Not being able to access your money is another, much more serious problem. 

Take this as a reminder that one central company should hold central power over your money.