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article imageWhatsApp faces worldwide outage due to an 'issue'

By James Walker     May 4, 2017 in Technology
WhatsApp suffered a major outage for several hours yesterday evening. The app, used by 1.2 billion worldwide, stopped sending and receiving messages. It came as the company announced its Snapchat clone Status has seen strong growth since its launch.
WhatsApp was inaccessible for a period of around three hours last night. Users headed to social media sites to vent their frustration at the outage. As one of the world's most popular messaging platforms, the significant downtime left people unable to communicate with each other.
The BBC reports that the app stopped functioning correctly at around 20:00 GMT. It had returned for most users by 22:30 GMT. Some people continued to experience problems when exchanging messages for a few hours after service was generally restored.
WhatsApp hasn't commented on what caused the unscheduled downtime. It acknowledged that its app was widely unavailable but did not state the cause of the issue. The company has also refrained from indicating the scale of the problem. Social media reports suggest a significant number of users were affected.
"Earlier today, WhatsApp users in all parts of the world were unable to access WhatsApp for a few hours," the company said to the BBC in a statement. "We have now fixed the issue and apologise for the inconvenience."
Users criticised WhatsApp for failing to provide any updates during the downtime. The company's WhatsApp Status Twitter account, formerly used to post news about the progress of recovering service outages, hasn't been updated in over three years. WhatsApp also appears to have abandoned its main Twitter account. It last tweeted a post back in August 2016.
The incident lessened the impact of news earlier in the day that WhatsApp Status, the company's answer to Snapchat Stories, is already proving popular with users. Following in the footsteps of Instagram Stories, the newest implementation of the "Stories" concept has attracted 175 million people since its launch in February. WhatsApp parent company Facebook made the announcement during its first-quarter earnings call.
Status lets you share photo and video posts with your friends and family that disappear after 24 hours. Unlike Snapchat, it supports full end-to-end encryption to keep your posts private. This notable capability is the only practical way it's distinguished from Stories in Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram.
WhatsApp has now joined Instagram in boasting more Stories users than Snapchat has in total. Snapchat claims 161 million people use its service each day, a figure that has become increasingly stagnant in correlation with Instagram Stories' growth.
Opponents of the concept have criticised Facebook for forcing Stories into all of its major properties. It's now clear the tactic is paying off though, increasing engagement across the company's apps. WhatsApp's also has the benefit of existing market share in important developing regions, although only when it's actually online.
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