by Graham Pierrepoint
The old adage is certainly true – you never really know what you’ve got until it’s gone – and when it comes to our technological dependency, when downtime hits a certain service or app that we’ve grown accustomed to, the effects can be fairly devastating. It seems rather silly to say that – but when a colossal chat service such as WhatsApp inexplicably hits the skids for several hours at a time, you have a legion of users left in the dark. Many people have made the switch to using WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger over their standard cellphone texting service, meaning that there is more of an impetus on apps than ever to ensure that their platforms stay online for as long as possible!
Recently, WhatsApp suffered a hefty blowout which resulted in chatters worldwide plunging into social darkness – the app went down completely for millions of people, resulting in a large scale blackout which was thought to have lasted a couple of hours at most. This meant that users weren’t able to send or receive messages from their devices for considerable time – which, on paper, doesn’t seem like much of an issue. However, when the app is your main connection to others around you, its level of importance takes on a rather different form.
WhatsApp released a statement following downtime and advised that the issue causing the problem had been fixed and that they apologized for any inconvenience caused – and it seemed that many users continued to experience problems even after the outage was lifted in the majority. There’s been no official line on exactly what caused the problems – WhatsApp are perhaps rightly keeping any concerns close to their chests – but it’s thought that a recent update to the app may have triggered a breakdown in code. It’s a factor that could face many apps at any given time – and, as we’ve seen, it has happened to the best of them, the majority of which have bounced right back.
It’s unlikely that the outage will affect WhatsApp, owned by Facebook, long term. However, the shake-up, regardless of how brief it was, may have caused considerable worry to those dependent upon it. It therefore perhaps goes without saying – keep your most important contacts backed up on two different chat services should the worst occur in future – as these problems have had a habit of arising with the best will in the world from developers.