In an incident that has surprisingly gone largely unreported – partly due to so much concentration on the nor’easter that hit the Northeast Friday night – numerous websites connected to Facebook through Facebook Connect (in other words, sites with the little “like” button on their homepage) directed users to a Facebook error page on Thursday night at about 7:30pm EST. For example, if a user was looking to visit the Washington Post’s website, they would automatically be redirected to Facebook. While the issue only lasted a reported 15 to 30 minutes, it raises an interesting question: could Facebook-centered marketing doom us all?
Okay, so that might sound a little bit dramatic. However, over the past two decades the Internet has become an integral part of our lives. Nowadays, during an era in which content sharing and peer recommendations have become so key to marketing strategy, social media links appear to be everywhere online. Yet, with everything interconnected, is there an inherent risk carried with so much of the Internet being connected to sites like Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn?
Some of the sites affected by the glitch included MSNBC.com, CNN, New York Magazine and the aforementioned Washington Post. These high profile sites are just a few of the ones touched by the issue, and just a fraction of the 50 million sites that are connected to the social media giant.
For years now critics have questioned whether or not Facebook would ever get to a point in which it became too powerful. However, many were referring to Facebook’s domination of the social media market. This incident could open the door to a whole new level of concerns. If something was to happen to Facebook superseding what was essentially a simple problem with the “like” button, could it potentially take down the whole Internet? While this sounds a bit preposterous, it should give pause to marketers and users alike when it comes to knowing exactly what we are connected to and the impact it could have on hundreds of industries and our everyday lives.