April 2, 2014
Service Outage Hits WhatsApp After Reports Of Record Daily Traffic
Enid Burns for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
WhatsApp went through a series of "good news, bad news" Tuesday and into Wednesday -- one that wasn't likely an April Fool's prank either. The popular messaging service boasted that it reached a new daily record of 64 billion messages handled in a 24-hour period, then it experienced a service outage.
On Tuesday evening WhatsApp tweeted, "new daily record: 20B messages sent (inbound) and 44B messages received (outbound) by our users = 64B messages handled in just 24 hours."
The milestone might have reached capacity for the WhatsApp servers, because soon after the tweet users reported that the service wasn't working, or was working extremely slow, FastCompany reports. Some users got a message, "Sorry, our service is experiencing a problem right now. We are working on it and hope to restore the functionality shortly. Sorry for the inconvenience."
This is the second outage WhatsApp has experienced since it was acquired by Facebook in February for $16 billion.
A TechCrunch report estimates that there were 2,966 reports of people having problems with the service.
Reports of the downed service appeared on Twitter as well as DownDetector.com where a map showed geographical areas where the service experienced the most problems, with issues starting around 8:34 a.m. Eastern.
Service has reportedly been restored, though for some users it took some time to get their app running back at normal speed. The outage peaked around 10 a.m. Eastern before the issue was brought back under control.
WhatsApp has nearly doubled its volume in the past year. DailyMail UK reports that a year ago the service handled 27 billion messages a day. The new 64 billion number is broken down into messages sent and messages received.
"The figures sent and received differ due to the way the app handles group messages. For example, a message sent to a group is counted as one sent item, but is then counted as received by each individual in that group," wrote the Daily Mail's Victoria Woollaston.
Some users are drawing a correlation to the Facebook acquisition for the outage. Users have commented on Twitter and other platforms that Facebook is trying to get users to migrate from WhatsApp to Facebook's messaging service.
WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum has previously addressed those concerns. The CEO wrote on the company's blog in March that Facebook will not interfere with WhatsApp.
The post included "If partnering with Facebook meant that we had to change our values, we wouldn't have done it … Instead, we are forming a partnership that would allow us to continue operating independently and autonomously … Our fundamental values and beliefs will not change. Our principles will not change. Everything that has made WhatsApp the leader in personal messaging will still be in place."
WhatsApp has experienced a number of crises in its life, and since the Facebook acquisition. In March a Good Samaritan hacker pointed out a vulnerability in the WhatsApp system that allow hackers access to the database of each account. In addition, a privacy group filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission last month seeking to block the Facebook acquisition.