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Chat Platform Signal Suffered a Major Outage Last Week After User Boost

David Paul


internet addiction signal

An influx of users after the controversy surrounding WhatsApp’s policy changes has been blamed for the outage.

Social chat platform Signal suffered connectivity issues on Friday, taking the platform down for more than 24 hours.

Service was resumed on Saturday after experiencing “technical difficulties” believed to be caused by a major influx of new users.

In a tweet on Saturday, Signal thanked the millions of people taking up their platform for their patience while they resolved the issue.

Tweeting on Friday, the company commented: “We have been adding new servers and extra capacity at a record pace every single day this week nonstop, but today exceeded even our most optimistic projections.

“Millions upon millions of new users are sending a message that privacy matters. We appreciate your patience.”

Signal continued: “We are making progress towards getting the service back online. Privacy is our top priority, but adding capacity is a close second right now.”

The increase in Signal’s userbase follows swiftly on from the controversy surrounding WhatsApp and changes to its privacy policy.

It was announced this month that WhatsApp will give Facebook access user data under policy changes – something that many users have refused to accept.

It has caused millions to jump-ship, and go in search of other social chat services, such as Signal and Telegram.

Downloads of Signal have increased 4,200% in the last week, with 7.5 million new downloads. This also boosted the app to the top of both Apple and Google’s app stores.

The new rules, which currently do not apply in Europe and the UK, will supposedly take effect from February 8. A notice on WhatsApp is warning users that they will need to accept the new terms or to delete their app.


One of the main selling points of WhatsApp is its use of end-to-end encryption, involving the encryption of messages at the point of departure and only being decrypted when they arrive with the recipient.

Messages are not decrypted and re-encrypted during transit, meaning they cannot be accessed by anyone except for the involved parties, ensuring users can communicate privately.

However, its move to allow Facebook to gain access to user data has caused many to voice concern over how their data could be misused.

Signal boasts that it collects and uses no user data apart from a users phone number and that it “makes no attempt to link that to your identity”.

WhatsApp said in a statement last week that there has been “confusion” and “misinformation” surrounding its new privacy policy.

Commenting on the wider issues with privacy and social media platform, Jacob Wright, Chief Strategy Officer, BBH Singapore said: “If privacy is likely to be a major mainstream concern going forward, changing the default privacy settings would not be a strong enough claim for WhatsApp versus Telegram and Signal who have far better credentials in that area (as their continued steady growth in many markets has shown). And if privacy is not a major concern then they are missing out on valuable data by changing the defaults.

“Either way, Facebook will want to monetise WhatsApp somehow and it’s hard to see how they do that in their current business model without taking user data.

“Finally, given that users are unlikely to delete Whatsapp, but rather to add a new messaging app to their portfolio, Facebook still gets saleable data from Whatsapp even if user time on the platform gradually erodes.

“We will likely not see a contraction in WhatsApp’s user numbers as it is easy and cost-free to use multiple messaging apps, Whatsapp probably won’t see a decline in users but will see a decline in time spent on the platform and a rise in the user numbers of its competitors.”

David Paul

Staff Writer, DIGIT

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