Small and independent businesses have been urged to take precautions after Facebook and Instagram went down on Tuesday.

The social media platforms had widespread outages for a brief period in the afternoon, meaning people across the globe could not access their accounts.

'The Best of Barrow and Furness', a group dedicated to championing local businesses, used the situation to outline how crucial social media has become to such organisations.

They said: "This should act as a reminder that we don't own our social media accounts - if Facebook and Instagram had been down for a few days, what impact would that have on your business?

"You need to build a list so you can communicate with the people that matter to your business, your customers and your prospects."

Businesses were also reminded to create their own websites so that, if the outages happen again, they can be reached through other means.