Facebook's big buy, WhatsApp messaging app, back up after outage

WASHINGTON Sun Feb 23, 2014 8:35am IST

Illustration photo shows ''likes'' on WhatsApp's Facebook page displayed on a laptop screen in Paris February 20, 2014. REUTERS/Mal Langsdon

Illustration photo shows ''likes'' on WhatsApp's Facebook page displayed on a laptop screen in Paris February 20, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Mal Langsdon

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - WhatsApp, the rapidly expanding mobile messaging app, suffered an outage for more than three hours on Saturday, frustrating users just days after its acquisition by Facebook (FB.O) for $19 billion.

"WhatsApp service has been restored. We are so sorry for the downtime...," WhatsApp tweeted to its more than 1 million Twitter followers on Saturday around 5:48 p.m. EST (2248 GMT).

Earlier, the service had said it was "experiencing server issues" without providing further details. Facebook referred questions on the outage to WhatsApp representatives, who did not immediately respond.

Five-year-old WhatsApp currently has about 450 million users globally and has been adding a million users daily.

On Saturday, some of those users took to other forms of social media, including blogs and Twitter to report the outage and vent their frustration.

WhatsApp is the leader among a wave of smartphone-based messaging apps that are now sweeping across North America, Asia and Europe, and is known to appeal to teens and others who avoid mainstream social networks.

During the outage the buzz on Twitter ranged from the conspiratorial - that Facebook had really bought WhatsApp to shut it down and funnel users to Facebook Chat - to the philosophical.

"So now that #Whatsapp isn't working I've actually talked to my family, they seem like nice people," tweeted @Ali_Hilu, a self-described social media addict in Jordan.

And @Iamhollybrown of Surrey, England, scolded, "Can't believe all these people are crying about Whatsapp not working, do some exercise, do some work, learn a language."

(Reporting by Christine Stebbins and Ros Krasny; Editing by Dave Gregorio, Bernard Orr)

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