Outages and downtime – the likes of which were seen recently on Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram – may become a much more regular occurrence in future. This is the view of tech experts who believe the recent outages may not be the one-off event that many will have hoped.
Gav Winters, who runs a web performance and cybersecurity company, told ITV News that recent high-profile outages could become more commonplace over the months and years ahead, as greater volumes of people get online and the digital offer diversifies.
He suggested that tech companies are often focused on aggressive growth – which puts stress on the employers and puts them more at risk of making mistakes. Furthermore, as billions more people start accessing the internet over the coming decade, more services and infrastructure will be utilised, creating more instances where errors like these can creep in.
There has been a number of large-scale outages reported in recent months beyond the high-profile Facebook issue, something Winter believes “we’ll see more [of] – and consumers need to be really aware.”
One aspect of these outages which is proving particularly frustrating for consumers is the lack of an explanation. The NHS App, Three, BT, EE, and Virgin have suffered outages over the past few months, though few straightforward explanations have been given. Similarly, whilst Facebook itself explained a little of why it went down at the start of October, it was left to third parties to explain in greater depth just what is thought to have happened.
Such issues don’t exist in a vacuum, of course. The aforementioned mobile networks may have suffered outages as a result of the social media blackout, as users move from apps to browsers – using much more data in the process.
TechCrunch writer Amanda Siberling backed up Winter’s warning, suggesting that even worse has happened previously, so could well do so again. “These outages aren’t common, but they’re not unprecedented,” she told ITV. “We can’t really speculate when this might happen again, but even in 2019, Facebook had a longer outage than last week’s outage.”