WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook have all gone down in a major outage.
The three apps – which are all owned by Facebook, and run on shared infrastructure – all completely stopped working shortly before 5pm. Other products that are part of the same family of apps, such as Facebook Workplace, also stopped working.
Notifications are going off left, right, and center. The Facebook messenger app is blowing up. And the world’s most popular messaging service is down.Blog Post: First, let’s get to the facts. What is WhatsApp? WhatsApp Messenger is an instant messaging application for smartphones which allows users to exchange messages without having to pay for SMS via their data plan. The application uses the Internet connection on a user’s phone plan to send messages, photos, videos, documents, etc., rather than using SMS text messages. Now that we have that out of the way….
What is WhatsApp?
WhatsApp is a popular instant messaging app that was created in 2009 by a former employee of Yahoo. WhatsApp uses the internet to send messages, photos, videos and calls to other users that have the app installed. The app is available for Android, iPhone, iPad and Windows Phone.
As of today WhatsApp has 2 billion active users (300 million more followers than Twitter) and at least 200 billion messages sent daily.
According to TechCrunch, 100 million new users download WhatsApp every day. Additionally, WhatsApp has announced that they have doubled its user base and have 500 billion messages sent daily.
As you can probably tell from the popularity of this Facebook debut, quite a few folks have been trying to leverage this app for their own gain.
Why is it such a big deal?
Working from home, the need to communicate during these unprecedented times is almost non-existent for most people. People can find ways to communicate, however, through using email and other technologies such as Skype. Between the COVID-19 pandemic, the upcoming political transition, and the fact that we all have a lot on our plates, it is no wonder that this “hollow-chatting” phenomenon has been occurring.
People have been looking to technology to solve common problems. Sometimes this is a positive — for example: people are searching for a way to make money and looking to cryptocurrency for that solution. Other times this is a negative — for example: people have downloaded “Fatbooth”, a “re-imagining” of the “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” to “mobileify” the social media experience. But is it possible for the “new” communication medium to displace all of the other ones? Or do we need to look in the mirror and ask ourselves: What messaging technology do we use the most? Let’s dig in and take a look at the stats (to learn more about how we use technology to support our goals, read the rest of this blog post).
It looks like my current “Alliance” is the beached whale. Let’s look at some of the top messaging platforms ever.
The most used smartphone text messaging platform in the US is represented by the Apple iPhone and the top platform overall is represented by Google Android. Over 27.4 billion text messages were sent via mobile text messaging services in the US in 2021 – 202, 1 billion more messages were sent than via SMS text messaging services the year before.
What’s the real reason behind this outage?
Outages happen, but what’s important is what you do afterwards. Outages can be a good opportunity to learn about your systems and identify areas where you can improve. You can also come up with a plan for how you’ll communicate with customers when an outage occurs.Sometime in late October (early November?) there was an outage that caused small, significant outages to messages between some WhatsApp users and some of the social media websites owned by Facebook, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Periscope. These websites used a phone number that affected the service for all users on WhatsApp. Once this situation was corrected, most users were able to see normal service. What did we do? Updated the handset software.
After that, we figured we had no other choice but to try and stop the GOES online message service from having any server capacity at all. After a few days of fighting with Google (and Twitter), we were able to disable GOES. We did this very quickly, sending a message to all users which read: “The ‘Messenger’ in your WhatsApp Profile has temporarily paused due to a Go.gg outage.” We also warned users via our official Twitter account. “The ‘Messenger’ service in your WhatsApp Profile has temporarily paused due to a Go.gg Outage”. 1.8 million people saw the message and did as they were told. We apologize for being late to the action, but we were done waiting for the service to back up and we were ready to move on quickly. What did we learn from this incident? The official Twitter account was instrumental in bringing our attention to the extended outage. We were quick to respond to users via our Twitter Account. What’s next? The next step, after removing GOES, is to diagnose how server resources were broken in the first place. We will identify which folders on the servers could be 100% utilized for other services. This is necessary since system administrator’s may be hardwired in favor of a free and open service, requiring all servers competitively priced in order to remain competitive.