Recently I was lying awake in the dark at 4.45am sorting stuff out on a private Facebook group I help run.
I know, very early, but then I retire early and get a lot done by breakfast time. I am a morning person.
I was happily bashing the keys on my phone with fingers that are not designed for such small matters when bits started falling off Facebook. I could not access my own posts.
I immediately thought "what the heck have I posted?", expecting that Facebook had sent me to the naughty corner for some indiscretion, but no.
Facebook had died. Once I worked out that it was Facebook and not me, I thought a nice rest away from our private group is just what I need.
About 11am, I checked my phone and Facebook was back, all my posts were there, all good. Life carries on in my social media world.
The outage in New Zealand, as well as several other countries, came out of the blue and caused much concern to many, some suspecting that their phones were not working.
Many, technologically illiterate as I am, just put the phone down and walk away - my "go-to" strategy when techie stuff happens. My theory was that if left for a few hours things will probably come right, and they did.
Apart from being a Facebook user, I have never given it much thought as an organ of news and information, viewing many posts with at least scepticism. Relying on social media for legitimate news and research has never been my thing.
What amazed me when I did do some research about Facebook was how much it has invaded the phones and minds of our country's population.
In September 2021, there were 3,875,000 Facebook account holders in New Zealand. The age limit to hold a Facebook account is 13 years in New Zealand.
This accounts for more than 900,000 other New Zealanders, children 12 years of age and under who cannot be taken into account, only leaving about 350,000 New Zealanders who do not have a Facebook account. Staggering.
Now, some account holders are probably not avid users, but many are.
Social media has filled an information and communication gap in many lives.
Older people enjoy Facebook due to the ability to communicate with their children and grandchildren.
Young people use Facebook as part of their busy lives without a thought. People aged 25 to 34 years are the biggest age group, 965,700.
These huge numbers do not include the Facebook groups that many of us belong to, of which there are thousands.
As an administrator on a private Facebook group, I am scrupulous about obeying Facebook's rules and ensuring our members do as well.
The group also has its own rules. Breaching rules continually and intentionally means immediate departure from the group as the integrity of our group is most important to the administration team.
Reading a recent article following an Australian High Court decision in the Dylan Voller case has highlighted the risk media runs using social media to allow the publishing of defamatory comments on their groups.
Voller wants to sue the companies in the New South Wales Supreme Court over alleged defamatory comments on their Facebook pages.
But the case had been stalled by a dispute over whether the outlets were the publishers of the material.
The High Court found that, by running the Facebook pages, the media groups participated in communicating any defamatory material posted by third parties and were therefore responsible for the comments.
Sadly, this could also extend to unpaid, well-meaning administrators who could be held liable for defamation following posts and comments made in a Facebook group defaming a third party.
The administrator may not even know about the post or comment but, by providing a platform for the comments to be made, the decision could mean administration teams of community, club, social and any other Facebook groups could face legal consequences in Australia.
In Australia, this is being seen as an attack on free speech and an attempt to rein in robust discussion on social media.
Groups have reportedly shut down.
Now, this is an Australian decision and not binding in New Zealand - yet.
Many Facebook groups are international so the opportunity to breach another country's defamation rules is apparent.
If you administer a community or club Facebook group, open or closed, there could be interesting times coming. Some would say that a closed and private Facebook group should be safe.
The reality is that there is really no such thing as a closed or private group on social media. Cut and paste works just fine for those who wish to share posts or snippets.
Also Facebook watches these groups continually - I know, I deal with Facebook often.