When Facebook users had finished mocking the company over its calamitous global outage on Monday, October 4, many apparently flocked to rival apps in order to get back in touch with friends and family.
The six-hour outage — caused by configuration changes to Facebook’s routers that prevented its computer systems from communicating in the usual way — also impacted Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram, which Facebook also operates.
With billions of people affected, tens of millions of users made a beeline for rival messaging app Telegram, according to Pavel Durov, the startup’s CEO and founder.
“Yesterday Telegram experienced a record increase in user registration and activity,” Pavel wrote in an online post, claiming that a staggering 70 million people signed up in a matter of hours.
Pavel added that the service was largely able to cope with the sudden increase in usage, though admitted that “some users in the Americas may have experienced slower speed than usual as millions of users from these continents rushed to sign up for Telegram at the same time.”
Telegram launched in 2013 and as of July this year served 550 million monthly active users.
Signal, another messaging app that’s estimated to have around 40 million monthly active users, also claimed to have added “millions” of new users to its service on Monday while Facebook remained offline.
Whether those new sign-ups convert into regular users of Telegram and Signal remains to be seen, but the apparent desertion by so many people in response to a single event will doubtless concern Facebook’s top team.
As the outage continued on Monday, Facebook’s market value fell by nearly $50 billion, though it recovered some of those losses on Tuesday. It’s also thought to have lost around $79 million in ad revenue during the downtime. Once Facebook and its other services were restored later on Monday, the company said it was “working to understand more about what happened today so we can continue to make our infrastructure more resilient.”