What’s Up With WhatsApp Outages?

Vector modern phone icon in bubble speechAlternative messaging apps are a great backup when conventional communications aren’t available in an emergency. But as a recent outage makes clear: even your backups should have backups.

That’s the lesson from the recent hours-long worldwide outage of WhatsApp, the Facebook-owned messaging app. It’s one of the most popular apps in the world, with 1.2 billion members. On Wednesday, May 3, it suffered a global outage, apparently caused by an internal issue rather than any external tampering.

The timing was pretty bad – Facebook’s senior management was on a quarterly-earnings conference call with investors, talking up WhatsApp’s popularity and new features, just as the outage was underway and users were venting their frustrations on other apps, such as Twitter, connecting with the hashtag #WhatsAppDown.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be a one-time issue. Two weeks later, it went offline again, leaving users with a never-ending “connecting…” prompt – or refusing to start entirely. Not a great look for a service Facebook paid nearly $20 billion for in 2014!

Want to know more about alternative messaging services in case something like this goes down again? Emergency Management Academy’s Scot Phelps delivered a presentation on the pros and cons of messaging apps at DRI2016, and you can view the presentation slides by logging into the MyDRI Resource Library.

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