While Facebook and Instagram were down Monday, so were sales.By Royce Jones

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — On Monday, billions of social media users were left in the dark as Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp experienced a widespread outage.

And the time offline had a noticeable impact on local businesses.

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Katie Love is the CEO of Love Social Media, a boutique social media agency that serves clients from Pittsburgh to Hong Kong, all of whom were hit by the blackout on Monday.

“We have 30 clients who are relying on us to post about their business, help grow their business, get people in the door, put money in their banks,” Love said. “So this has been a huge headache.”

During the pandemic, Love said her agency grew 50 percent as more business owners made the switch to online platforms to promote and sell products.

Watch as KDKA’s Lindsay Ward reports:

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While Facebook and Instagram were down Monday, so were sales for clients like Bridal Beginnings in Mt. Lebanon.

“A lot of their brides use direct messaging on Instagram to communicate. They find a dress that they love. They send us a message. They’re asking about fit and style. And that’s how they make their sales. And today we weren’t able to have that communication with our brides,” Love said.

This is one reason experts suggest people expand their social media footprint and have backups when outages happen. That’s exactly what real estate agent Jen Crouse did. She mastered Instagram and has now amassed as many as two million views on Tik Tok.

“If I didn’t have that, I would have done nothing on social today at all,” Crouse said. “So it was great that I was able to put some of my fresh content on TikTok.”

And while the cause of Monday’s crash remains unknown, the word “hack” always comes to mind when things like this happen. For added protection, Matt Gentile of My BFF Social recommends users change their passwords often, which makes the jobs of cybercriminals much harder.

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“The artificial intelligence bots that are out there doing their work to try and hack and get into your passwords will be disrupted. They won’t be able to access those passwords you have left dormant for many years,” Gentile said.