NEW YORK – WhatsApp’s 450 million worldwide users were unable to access the smartphone free-messaging service for several hours Saturday, three days after Facebook declared it was lavishing up to $19 billion on it.
“Sorry we currently experiencing server issues. We hope to be back up and recovered shortly,” WhatsApp said in a message on Twitter that was retweeted more than 25,000 times in just a few hours and provoked ridicule because it came so soon after Facebook’s hefty acquisition.
About 2½ hours later it tweeted again to say: “WhatsApp service has been restored. We are sorry for the downtime . . .”
Some WhatsApp users found they were unable to connect to the app, while others said their messages were not going through.
The specialist website techcrunch.com suggested the problem might be down to “a surge of signups and usage that has overloaded its servers” after the publicity the app garnered following Facebook’s announcement Wednesday.
The social media giant is betting huge on mobile with the deal for WhatsApp, which was only started five years ago but has quickly grown as a free alternative to text messages.