What's up, WhatsApp? Facebook's $19B baby hit by outage

It's happened before, apparently, but the timing of this outage is notable, following as it does on Facebook's staggering-sum purchase of the messaging app.

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In the Interesting Timing Dept., WhatsApp -- the messaging app acquired this week by Facebook for the eye-popping sum of $19 billion -- is in the midst of an outage, after also reportedly experiencing a short run of downtime Friday night.

The service became unavailable to a large number of users starting at about 11 a.m. PT Saturday, after a 20-minute outage Friday night, BNO News reported. And WhatsApp's "WhatsApp Status" Twitter feed confirmed the outage:

The Status feed also reveals that the app has gone down at least once a month for the last several months, but the timing here has nevertheless inspired some high jinks on the part of Internet users (as noted by Techcrunch). Several hastily constructed memes made the rounds on Twitter, including this one, which implies that WhatsApp's two co-founders have wasted no time in enjoying their newfound riches:

Various sites speculated that the outage could be the result of people checking out the app following the wave of publicity generated by the acquisition news. That might mean a lot of new potential users. Then again, might not the glitch discourage some adoption -- and add to the number of people who are reportedly adopting rival services? And how might it affect public perception of Facebook's tech chops? Some wondered these things as well. Of course, it's too early to say; it may be nothing more than a more or less run-of-the-mill outage. At any rate, it seems at least one user is enjoying the pause:

The WhatsApp Status feed is here, should you want to stay up-to-date. We have an e-mail in to WhatsApp and to Facebook and will update this post when we have more information.

Update, 2:47 p.m. PT We've received a brief note from WhatsApp co-founder and CEO Jan Koum: "we had a network+server outage. should be fixed now." We asked for more information and will update again should we hear back. There's also a tweet from the Status feed: "WhatsApp service has been restored. We are so sorry for the downtime..."

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About the author

Edward Moyer is an associate editor at CNET News and a many-year veteran of the writing and editing world. He enjoys taking sentences apart and putting them back together. He also likes making them from scratch.

 

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