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Losing Facebook is bad, but losing WhatsApp is worse

In the chaos of Monday’s Facebook outage, it’s easy to lose sight of the reach of the business. Not being able to post a new photo on Instagram is annoying, but it doesn’t have to be catastrophic. Yet for WhatsApp users, especially outside the United States, the loss of Facebook’s encrypted messaging service is a big change, and one of the competing messaging services was eager to capitalize on today.

In February of last year, WhatsApp announced that it had 2 billion users worldwide. Compare that to the original 2.5 billion flavor of Facebook and it’s easy to see how many lives WhatsApp is touching. It has become the default method for contacting people in many countries, including around 400 million unique monthly users in India. Bloomberg writing. It goes beyond informal communication: WhatsApp also aims to become an essential tool for businesses. The app already accepts integrated payments in Brazil and India. On top of that, WhatsApp claimed in October 2020 that 175 million people worldwide use its app to send messages to businesses every day.

With WhatsApp down, that means calls and messages to friends and family can go unanswered, customer service requests go unanswered, and vital organizational information go unanswered. The secure messaging app is also frequently one of the many tools that organizers use to conduct protests and protests (unless blocked).

A WhatsApp outage is a huge problem for people who depend on it, but a possible boon to competing encrypted messaging apps. The major players, Signal, Telegram, and at least in the US, iMessage, will all benefit when Facebook and WhatsApp fail. So far at least, only Signal has made a public victory lap.

The company was unable to disclose specific figures to The edge but said Signal was reaching new listing levels, “on par with January of this year.” That same month, I note, when WhatsApp rolled out its controversial new privacy policy for commercial messages and Facebook as a whole was once again criticized for the role it may have played in the January 6 riots on Capitol Hill. . Telegram and Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Facebook is restoring its services and it will be longer before we can really find out how many people the Facebook outage has negatively impacted. For now though, it’s safe to say that it was probably a lot more boring than not being able to update your story.

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