offline internet
Category: In the News

PR Crisis Lessons From an Offline Internet

Early in June, many websites around the world, from international government agencies to media companies, to eCommerce websites, suddenly went offline.

According to later reports, an unexpected glitch at one of the biggest providers of content delivery services, Fastly, managed to take down many websites worldwide.

This led to many strong reactions on social media platforms, as many people started to wonder how vulnerable digital infrastructure really is.

Although the glitch was quickly fixed, and websites went back online, the reasons for it were unclear for a while. Nevertheless, Fastly quickly issued a response on its social media profiles reassuring everyone impacted by the outage. The company also regularly shared updates and alerted its customers while looking for solutions to the problem.

Any interruptions or disruptions to information delivery and internet commerce in general can be incredibly expensive, and there isn’t much patience during a crisis. Most stakeholders are looking for answers immediately, and with that high level of pressure, communicators should be providing everyone with comfort even if they themselves aren’t completely familiar with all the details of the situation.

This event, coupled with a large number of recent ransomware attacks as well as data breaches, caused a large number of people to become skeptical over the reliability of different services online, and over data safety.

Companies should be prepared to face different types of crises long before they happen. In this case, it was apparent that Fastly was prepared, as the company was quick to issue statements and updates.

To communicate efficiently during a crisis, companies should have a PR crisis plan detailed beforehand, and include information such as crisis protocol, messaging, and roles and responsibilities.

Whenever outages like the one mentioned here happen, the most common response from the public is anxiety or panic due to a fear of the unknown.

This is a fear that can lead to people making bad decisions, as they’re not properly informed. If the company hadn’t been issuing regular updates for clients and the general public, the issue could have spiraled out of control. That’s because when people have no information, they tend to rely on rumours to fill in the knowledge gaps or to simply confirm their biggest fears.

All of these issues factor into why Fatly decided to issue clear and fast responses  and updates during the outage even while it was trying to find the root cause of the issue.

Fastly managed to solve the problem about an hour after it first started, and also found out what caused it in the first place.

The company announced that the issue was caused because one of its customers changed a certain setting, and that it had issued a fix to prevent similar situations from happening in the future.

Early in June, many websites around the world, from international government agencies to media companies, to eCommerce websites, suddenly went offline. According to later reports, an unexpected glitch at one of the biggest providers of content delivery services, Fastly, managed to take down many websites worldwide. This led to many strong reactions on social media platforms, as many people started to wonder how vulnerable digital infrastructure really is. Although the glitch was quickly fixed, and websites went back online, the reasons for it were unclear for a while. Nevertheless,…