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WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram Struggle with Worldwide Outages

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Luis Monzon
Luis Monzon
Journalist. Reach me at Luis@ITNewsAfrica.com

Users trying to download any type of media on WhatsApp, Facebook or Instagram – you might struggle to get it on your device.

This is according to Gadgets Africa, who state that users around the world reported that platforms owned by Facebook are currently experiencing issues. New reports of issues began streaming in at around 23:15 (CAT) on 1 April 2020.

As of 10:18 (CAT), it appears that the issue has been repaired, at least for image downloading.

The reason for the partial outage is unknown, however, WhatsApp usage has seen a massive spike ever since the COVID-19 pandemic crisis began. It is possible that this unprecedented surge in usage could be the reason for the outage.

Furthermore, it looks like Facebook and Instagram have similar issues with different users across the world sending in unconfirmed reports. Users on Downdetector have also complained that outages are affecting Facebook Messenger.

A similar issue struck the Facebook family of apps last year in March 2019.

COVID-19 and Social Media

Social media is being adversely affected by the huge spikes in traffic caused by COVID-19 isolation. Facebook has said that it is struggling to match the new traffic.

Alex Schultz, Facebook’s VP of Analytics, and Jay Parikh, VP of Engineering, state that countries hit hardest by the coronavirus – like Italy – have seen as much as 50% more usage amongst the Facebook suite of messaging services. Likewise, these places have also seen voice and video calling double on Messenger and WhatsApp.

Facebook says that this new spike in usage doesn’t mean that business is improving, with the social network titan stating: “Much of the increased traffic is happening on our messaging services, but we’ve also seen more people using our feed and stories products to get updates from their family and friends. At the same time, our business is being adversely affected like so many others around the world. We don’t monetize many of the services where we’re seeing increased engagement, and we’ve seen a weakening in our ads business in countries taking aggressive actions to reduce the spread of COVID-19.”

WhatsApp has also seen its usage explode – growing by about 40%. Since more and more people are looking to stay connected during the pandemic, WhatsApp has been the social media app with the greatest overall gains in usage.

Edited by Luis Monzon

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