Signal, widely considered the gold standard in encrypted communications for mobiles by the security community has become the refuge of WhatsApp users yet again -- the app is seeing a surge in registrations thanks to half an hour of downtime faced by WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Instagram on Friday night. The issues were swiftly resolved and Facebook's services were back online at the time of publishing this story.
Barely minutes after users around the world began to report that WhatsApp and Instagram were not accessible, the non-profit encrypted messenger service took to Twitter to inform users that they were seeing an increase in user signups and welcomed new users to the platform. This is the second time this year that the company has seen a boost in user registrations - which even prompted the app to hire new staff, after a surge in downloads earlier this year. The app saw 26.4 million downloads in India in just about two weeks, and was recently blocked in both Iran and China.
Known for their witty status updates and responses, Signal tweeted that they expressed solidarity with the people at the company working on the WhatsApp outage. They were most likely referring to the recent day-long outage that they themselves experienced after an unprecedented number of users moved to the platform after WhatsApp updated their terms of service to state that they would soon begin sharing some data related to chats with businesses with parent company Facebook.
Signal also made light of the situation with a rather witty pun on WhatsApp’s unavailability, stating that “people outside of the tech industry would never understand how weird it sounds when someone says they were looking forward to some weekend downtime”. In layman’s terms, downtime means a period of rest and relaxation away from work, while in the world of technology, the time that a service is inaccessible (for maintenance or repairs) is considered ‘downtime’ - literally every developer's nightmare, and especially on a weekend.
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