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WhatsApp outage downs mobile messaging service for hours

WhatsApp, the instant messaging service for smartphones, was hit by a major outage late on Saturday night.

The downtime has been incurred at a rather embarrassing time, given that Facebook has just splashed out a whopping $19 billion (£11.4 billion) for the company earlier this week. Perhaps it’s not the best first impression to make on Zuckerberg and friends…

WhatsApp noted it was having “server issues” at 20:16 UK time last night, but said that it expected to recover from them shortly.

Sky News observed that one Twitter user claimed the outage lasted for around four hours. Jazzy Marwaha tweeted: "It’s been like 4 hours, you would have thought they could sort whatsapp out by now."

WhatsApp chat conversations were apparently stuck on the “Connecting” screen, to the anger of the masses on Twitter throwing about the hashtag #whatsappdown with predictable abandon. A number of jokes also did the rounds, mostly revolving around how Mark Zuckerberg’s plan was to buy WhatsApp and then shut it down to force folks to use Facebook chat.

At any rate, just over two hours after WhatsApp had first announced the problem, it tweeted that the service was back up and running: “WhatsApp service has been restored. We are so sorry for the downtime...”

According to the sparsely used WhatsApp Twitter account – the bio reads “We are working very hard to make this Twitter account irrelevant” – the last major service outage was on 7 December last year.

Now Facebook is taking the reins, we would expect to see plenty of focus on smoothing over any such issues. That is unless Zuck’s big plan really is as the Twitter jokers suggest…