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WhatsApp inexplicably goes down for users around the world for several hours

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WhatsApp went down on Wednesday, sending some of the app’s billion-plus users into a bit of a panic in the process. The popular Facebook-owned messaging service started having trouble early in the evening on the East Coast and, within an hour, representatives from the company confirmed to Reuters that it was working on a fix.

According to the company, normal service should now be resumed around the world.

“Earlier today, WhatsApp users in all parts of the world were unable to access WhatsApp for a few hours,” the company said in a statement. “We have now fixed the issue and apologize for the inconvenience.”

The outage did not appear to affect every user — for what it is worth, we were able to send and receive messages just fine. However, problems were cropping up worldwide, if people’s reactions on Twitter were any indication.

The website Down Detector reported a spike of complaints about 4 p.m. (ET), which seemed to have trailed off shortly afterward. Most of the reports appear to have originated from Europe, indicating the region was particularly hit hard. For those affected, the problem was manifesting itself as a persistent “connecting” message appearing at the top of conversation windows. Some encountered similar setbacks using the web service as well.

Checking the system status during the outage produced the following message:

“Our service is experiencing a problem right now. We are working on it and hope to restore the functionality shortly. Sorry for the inconvenience.”

WhatsApp has a good track record of consistency and reliability, which makes Wednesday’s issues all the more strange. While it might not be a significant hindrance to American users, the app is particularly popular elsewhere in the world — especially in Brazil, India, Mexico, and Russia. WhatsApp seems to be better at transcending geographic borders than Facebook Messenger — though the success of either app is a win for the parent company.

On Tuesday, WhatsApp debuted a feature in its beta version that allows users to pin certain conversations to the top of their inbox.

Article originally published on 05-03-2017 by Adam Ismail. Updated on 05-03-2017: Added WhatsApp’s statement and announcement of normal service resuming.

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Adam Ismail
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