What were Telegram, Signal and Snapchat up to during Facebook’s outage?

The six-hour outage that brought Facebook-owned platforms down, users on other social media platforms including Snapchat, Signal and Telegram grew substantially.
11 October 2021

Here’s what happened to Telegram, Signal and Snapchat during Facebook’s outage. (Photo by Roslan RAHMAN / AFP)

  • Telegram saw a “record increase in user registration and activity”, with a staggering 70 million new users gained during the outage
  • Signal in a tweet said there were “millions of new users” who had joined the app
  • Usage also surged 23% on Snapchat and 11% on Twitter

A few days ago, Facebook suffered a six-hour outage that brought down the social media platform, its WhatsApp messenger and photo-sharing app Instagram. The outage impacted 2.7 billion global users who were left scrambling for an alternative. In hindsight, private messaging apps Telegram and Signal, as well as Snapchat, witnessed a massive increase in new users.

It is not the first time that Telegram winds up as the stopgap in such situations. When WhatsApp announced changes in its terms of services earlier this year, users were concerned that the messaging platform would be sharing private user data with parent company Facebook. Thus, Telegram reported a similar surge in new signups. 

This time around, with WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook going dark for hours, Telegram founder and chief executive Pavel Durov said his instant messaging app added an astounding 70 million users. Pavel said in his Telegram channel that there was a “record increase in user registration and activity” for the service.

“The daily growth rate of Telegram exceeded the norm by an order of magnitude, and we welcomed over 70 million refugees from other platforms in one day. I am proud of how our team handled the unprecedented growth because Telegram continued to work flawlessly for the vast majority of our users.”

That said, he claims 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. “For the new users I’d like to say this – welcome to Telegram, the largest independent messaging platform. We won’t fail you when others will,” he added.

Telegram as of now has over 500 million daily active users, after having to top one billion downloads this year. According to specialist firm SensorTower, Telegram became the fifth most downloaded app from 56th in the United States on Monday.

Meanwhile, Signal, also an instant messaging app competing with Telegram and Whatsapp’,  added “millions of new users”, according to its tweet. Overall, Sensor Tower’s data from 100,000 random Android users, compared to the week before, reflects that Monday’s usage surged 23% on Snapchat and 11% on Twitter, while messaging apps Telegram and Signal grew 18% and 15% respectively. In fact, even Twitter Inc.’s CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted his endorsement of Signal.