The Day Facebook Died, and Why it Doesn't Matter for Investors

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Screenshot depicting trouble with Facebook's programming interface yesterday. Photo credit: Tim Beyers/The Motley Fool.

Monday was a tough day for Facebook techies, who spent hours battling errors that have since been resolved. The good news? Investors barely noticed as the stock fell less than 1% on a flat day for the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

There are two good reason for this, I think.

First, Facebook didn't look like it was having trouble. Navigating to the site yesterday morning still revealed a news feed. I may not have been able to post anything, but on the face of it, Facebook all looked normal. Engadget, Mashable, and others confirmed this was the situation for users.

Second, brief outages have become normal operating procedure in the cloud. Google has experienced several recently,  including two days of Gmail slowdowns last month. Yet there's no sign that these disturbances did anything to keep marketers from placing ads or searchers from viewing them.

Over at Facebook, they key issues yesterday appear to have been with Wall posting (you couldn't make one) and Payments (ditto). Why? We don't know, but remember that Payments is a new product. Testing it across the network may have caused systemic errors.

Here again, I see similarities with Google's recent outages. The search king last month rolled out significant updates to the Android and iOS versions of Google Drive, its productivity app control center. The problems that followed were likely nothing more than growing pains for an online platform that's winning more converts each day. Just this morning, Google announced a pilot program with the U.S. Army division that supports infrastructure and information management.

The message? Outages aren't the disaster they used to be, and they likely never will be again. That's just another reason I think investors can be comfortable investing in Facebook, Google, and related cloud-computing stocks.

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Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of the  Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team and the Motley Fool Supernova Odyssey I mission. He owned shares of Google at the time of publication. Check out Tim's web home and portfolio holdings or connect with him on Google+Tumblr, or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.The Motley Fool recommends Facebook and Google. The Motley Fool owns shares of Facebook and Google. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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