Messenger apps like Signal and Telegram received a surge in interest after a Facebook Inc. outage left Whatsapp users in the lurch. At least 2.7 billion social network users around the world were plunged into digital darkness on Monday as Faceboo’s suite of apps and services, including Whatsapp and Instagram, went down. For six hours, from around 11:40am EDT, millions of communication channels were unusable.
The company attributed the outage to a “faulty configuration change” and promised there was “no evidence that user data was compromised as a result.” Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO, whose net worth dropped by $6bn as a result of the outage, apologized for the disruption as the apps came back online.
According to Signal, an end-to-end encrypted messaging app favored by activists and organizers concerned about data privacy, “millions” flocked to its app after the outage. “Signups are way up on Signal (welcome everyone!),” the company tweeted on Monday. Signal declined to disclose more specific user numbers.
Other alternative message apps, such as Telegram and Discord, enjoyed a surge of signups. Telegram currently ranks fifth on the U.S. Apple App Store’s top free apps chart.
The sheer scale of Monday’s Facebook outage highlighted the company’s monopoly over social media worldwide. Whatsapp has more than 2 billion users across 180 countries, and is the market leader in all but 25 countries globally. It is also heavily relied on by many people in countries such as Kenya, Nigeria, India and Argentina to communicate.
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Signal uses end-to-end encryption, similar to Whatsapp and iMessage. In fact, Whatsapp integrated Signal’s protocol into its encryption software in 2016. What sets Signal apart is the extra level of security it provides: messages’ metadata are encrypted, blocking out hackers…
Source : time