By Isabel Van Brugen
Messaging app Telegram says it gained 70 million new users during the widespread outage across a suite of Facebook’s social media and messaging services.
Telegram founder and CEO Pavel Durov said in a statement that it saw a “record increase in user registration and activity” when Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, which are all owned by Facebook, went offline for around six hours.
“The daily growth rate of Telegram exceeded the norm by an order of magnitude, and we welcome over 70 million refugees from other platforms in one day,” Durov wrote on his Telegram channel.
Durov noted that some Telegram users in the Americas may have experienced slower speeds than usual on the messaging app due to volume of people attempting to register at the same time.
“I ask our existing users to say hi to their newly arrived friends, help them unpack, and let them know what we have in stock. Make sure they stick around and see why Telegram is light years ahead of the competition,” he wrote.
“For the new users I’d like to say this—welcome to Telegram, the largest independent messaging platform,” Durov added. “We won’t fail you when others will.”
Signal, another private messaging app, similarly saw a surge of new users during the outage. “Millions of new people” joined the app, Signal wrote on Twitter.
Facebook on Monday blamed the major outage on faulty configuration changes on its routers, saying in a statement that the underlying cause of the outage impacted many of the internal tools and systems it uses in its day-to-day operations, “complicating our attempts to quickly diagnose and resolve the problem.”
“Our engineering teams have learned that configuration changes on the backbone routers that coordinate network traffic between our data centers caused issues that interrupted this communication,” Facebook said in a blog post.
“This disruption to network traffic had a cascading effect on the way our data centers communicate, bringing our services to a halt,” the company said, adding that there is no evidence that user data was compromised as a result of the outage.
“We apologize to all those affected, and we’re working to understand more about what happened today so we can continue to make our infrastructure more resilient,” the blog post said.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a note to Facebook staff that it was the “worst outage we’ve had in years.”