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WhatsApp back online after global outage

Messaging app WhatsApp is starting to come back online and the company says the issue has been fixed after users across the world reported problems.

On Tuesday outage reporting site Downdetector had shown more than 68,000 users had reported problems with the app in Britain.

Problems were also reported by 19,000 people in Singapore and 15,000 people in South Africa.

“We know people had trouble sending messages on WhatsApp today. We have fixed the issue and apologise for any inconvenience,” a spokesperson for WhatsApp parent company Meta Platforms said.

The company did not disclose the reason for the outage.

WhatsApp has become a critical means of communication for households and businesses. When WhatsApp had an hours-long outage last October, it hit trading of assets from cryptocurrencies to oil, before traders switched to alternative platforms such as Telegram.

“This highlights the significance of vast hosting companies directing data around the internet along with companies and individuals relying on single points of communication,” said Jack Moore, advisor at Slovakia-based cybersecurity firm ESET.

“Multiple areas will inevitably be significantly impacted as a result of this downtime, along with a predicted financial hit but lessons from other recent prominent times when the internet has gone down will have hopefully taught many to have access to other forms of communication.”

WhatsApp’s latest outage came during the festive season in India – its biggest market by user count – when people use the platform even more than usual to send season’s greetings.

Shares of WhatsApp-parent Meta Platforms fell 0.7 per cent to $US128.85 in premarket trading following the outage.

The company had not sent any fresh updates as users in Asia, India and Britain started seeing some connections come back online.

In the past, rival apps such as Telegram, Snap or even Meta’s Instagram have enjoyed temporary spikes in users when WhatsApp has been down.

While WhatsApp says it has more than two billion monthly active users and has become a mainstay for messaging in many countries, Telegram has taken up the challenger role with about 700 million users.

-AAP

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