Popular messaging app Telegram is down once again.
This time, the app’s failure is much more seriously widespread than it has been in the past, with the entire of Europe, Russia, and the Middle East unable to connect.
It is so-far unknown what exactly the problem is. Telegram has tweeted to explain that it is looking into the issue.
Our users in Europe, Middle East and the CIS countries are experiencing connection issues at the moment. We are looking into the issue and hope to bring you back online soon.
— Telegram Messenger (@telegram) March 29, 2018
Meanwhile, users are replying to Telegram’s Twitter note saying that this is an issue that is happening more and more frequently.
In fact, judging by tweets posted to Telegram’s official Twitter account, the app has faced downtime many times before. In just over six months, Telegram has been down five times in various regions.
Some of our users in Europe and the MENA region are currently experiencing connection issues. Please hang on, we have all hands on deck to bring you back soon!
— Telegram Messenger (@telegram) March 5, 2018
Some of our users in Europe and MENA are currently experiencing connection issues. We've got all hands on deck, working to bring everyone back online. Hang on!
— Telegram Messenger (@telegram) February 20, 2018
Lost power & all UPS in the Telegram's Asian server cluster. Asian users are affected. Equipment is rebooting and should be back online soon
— Telegram Messenger (@telegram) September 26, 2017
The cause of the connection issues in Asia is a major power outage in our datacenter in SG (supposed to never happen). Hang on!
— Telegram Messenger (@telegram) September 20, 2017
Some of our users in Europe are experiencing connection issues at the moment. We're hard at work fixing this, should be up in 15-20 minutes.
— Telegram Messenger (@telegram) September 13, 2017
One of the major problems Telegram seems to be facing is the sheer volume of users downloading and using the app. The company recently boasted of having “200 million monthly active users”.
That’s a serious feat for a tech startup which only opened its doors in August 2013.
Still, as seen with the likes of Pokémon Go among others, sudden popularity can have its downsides.
When too many users attempt to connect to a service, this can cause server problems. These lead to outages which can affect huge swathes of the user population.
So far there’s no saying whether that is the cause of today’s current issue but it’s certainly a possibility.
How ‘Telegram down’ tells you everything about why it won’t beat WhatsApp
In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal Facebook has been met with public outrage. Prominent figures around the world are encouraging Facebook users to #DeleteFacebook over privacy concerns.
It would be no surprise to see Facebook’s other apps, Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram, hit with the same public scorn as the investigation into Facebook’s internal practices goes deeper.
All of this could provide a huge boon to Telegram which prioritises encryption as one of its key selling points.
As people become more mistrustful of Facebook, Telegram stands a good chance at sweeping in and persuading WhatsApp defectors to join its service as an alternative.
Of course, all this supposes that Telegram can get its connection issues under control.
It can be difficult to track exactly how often and for how long apps like this go down.
However, one (imperfect) way to track this information is to see how many people are using the internet to troubleshoot issues with their apps.
Big spikes in search trends tend to suggest people are having problems.
Here are the global search volumes for “WhatsApp down” since the service launched in January 2009.
There are clear spikes in search volume in February 2014, December 2015, May 2017, and November 2017. These all represent major outages for the service. News reports at the time corroborate these findings.
More troublesome than WhatsApp is clearly Facebook Messenger. The search volumes for “Facebook Messenger down” are clearly a lot more frequent and higher than for WhatsApp.
The only trouble with this graph is that it’s difficult to tell when the standalone Facebook Messenger app is down versus when the messenger on the Facebook website ceases to function properly.
Either way, what’s clear is that Facebook Messenger is obviously a lot more temperamental than WhatsApp.
If we look at the results for “Telegram down” since the app became available in 2013, there’s clearly a lot more occasions when the app has not functioned correctly.
Compared to Facebook Messenger, Telegram’s downtime is clearly not as significant.
Still, if the app intends to beat WhatsApp anytime soon, it will need to work on flattening this graph.