The Telegram messaging app made hay as the sun shone on Monday, which conversely was a very bad day for Facebook and its properties (e.g. WhatsApp, Oculus and Instagram). As Facebook engineers battled over software and servers for nearly six hours, Telegram drew 70 million new customers.
Founder and CEO of Telegram Pavel Durov obviously rejoiced at the misfortune of its rivals, the current owners of WhatsApp. He also spoke of being proud of the Telegram infrastructure, which “has continued to perform flawlessly for the vast majority of our users” even as tens of millions of new accounts have come to life.
In some countries / regions, WhatsApp is the default messaging and calling choice and is deeply embedded in society / commerce, so the Facebook outage was felt very strongly. In these places you might not get a lot of minutes of calling or texting bundled into contracts or PAYG, and people need reliability to handle their day-to-day life like scheduling appointments, pickups and all kinds of essential appointments.
Why did Facebook crash?
It is since revealed that Facebook’s backbone connection between data centers went down during routine maintenance, causing its DNS servers to go offline and disrupting user service. It’s a quick and neat explanation, but the solution wasn’t that quick or easy. Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg has apologized for the long outage, too.
Many people try to get rid of the habit of Facebook (and avoid its other products) because it is considered to be profit priority on everything else. So it seems that a lot of people took this opportunity to switch to the highly rated Telegram / Telegram Messenger app. The bosses of Telegram have structured the company as a non-profit organization and in general it is considered to be healthier than its big tech rivals …
In its official FAQ, Telegram claims to be more efficient than WhatsApp due to its cloud base and seamless syncing, while using less than 100MB on your device. In addition, its API and code are open and its multi-data center infrastructure is claimed to be “faster and much more secure”. I have this messaging app on my Android phone, and it looks pleasantly simple and light, but I haven’t used it to chat with contacts through it yet (mostly using LINE and Skype at the moment).
Discussions about the dark side of Facebook were recently amplified by another whistleblower, Francoise Haugen, testified to important news sources like the WSJ, CBS 60 Minutes, and more recently directly to US lawmakers (see video above). It seems to be a coincidence that Facebook and all of its properties went down at the start of this media storm.
In the Zuckerberg FB outage apology linked above, he also addressed recent statements and testimony from whistleblowers. The Facebook CEO spent much more time rebutting the whistleblowers’ accusations than talking about the outage, and he generally called the claims nonsense, inaccurate and illogical. Additionally, he highlighted initiatives where Facebook employees have worked long and hard to reduce the potential for negative experiences on FB platforms.