Messaging app Signal is back up and running after being down for more than 24 hours

Messaging app Signal is back up and running after being down for more than 24 hours thumbnail
  • Signal said on Saturday that it had restored service following an outage that began Friday morning.
  • The app began experiencing technical difficulties as its new users skyrocketed after competing service WhatsApp announced controversial new changes to its privacy policy.
  • Signal said some users may notice errors in their chats, but that those issues would be resolved in an upcoming update. 
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Encrypted messaging app Signal said it was back up and running on Saturday following an outage that left its users without the service for more than a day. 

In a Saturday evening tweet, the company announced it was “back” and thanked the “millions of new Signal users around the world for [their] patience.”

—Signal (@signalapp) January 17, 2021

Signal did not explicitly say what caused the outage, which began at around 11:40 a.m. ET Friday. But it appears the technical difficulties stemmed from a flood of new users flocking to the app after a competing messaging app, WhatsApp, announced it would roll out a controversial new privacy policy. 

In a Friday tweet acknowledging the outage, Signal said it has “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.”

Read more: How Silicon Valley banished Donald Trump in 48 hours

After it restored service, the company tweeted to its users that “Your capacity for understanding inspired us while we expanded capacity.”

WhatsApp informed users on January 7 that they would be forced to start sharing some personal data with the app’s parent company, Facebook, starting February 8. The news prompted a mass migration from WhatsApp to competitors Signal and Telegram, which both saw downloads skyrocket in the days following the announcement.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk and National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden both tweeted in support of switching to Signal. 

WhatsApp, for its part, announced Friday that it would delay the new policy until May 15 due to “confusion” and “misinformation” surrounding the changes. 

“We want to be clear that the policy update does not affect the privacy of your messages with friends or family in any way. Instead, this update includes changes related to messaging a business on WhatsApp, which is optional, and provides further transparency about how we collect and use data,” the company said.

Signal on Saturday said that users returning to the app may notice errors in their chats or missed messages from contacts. The company said the next app updates will address those issues. 

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