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Signal app recovers from outage caused by new user flood

Privacy-focused messaging app Signal is back online after an outage lasting more than 24 hours, an extended downtime caused by a large rush of users switching to the app.

Late on Saturday night, Signal posted to Twitter that it was operational once again. Expressing the news using a gif from the movie "Rocky," the app claimed it had "learned a lot since yesterday," as well as thanking the "millions of new Signal users" for their patience.

"Your capacity for understanding inspired us while we expanded capacity," the tweet concluded.

The tweet was posted after a lengthy downtime period that went on for more than one day, prompted by a lack of capacity on the app's servers to manage the sudden influx of users. Signal advised of its technical difficulties on Friday, the followed up with regular updates explaining its teams were working to get the app "up and running" as soon as possible.

"We have been adding new servers and extra capacity at a record pace every single day this week nonstop, but today exceeded even our most optimistic projections," one update tweet read. Another explained existing users may "see errors in some of their chats," indicating a message was missed from a contact rather than any issues with chat security.

While unconfirmed, it is likely that the sudden swelling of user numbers was caused by a few factors. While the Parler takedown may have caused some to move over to the end-to-end encrypted platform, a change in WhatsApp's privacy policy may have also been the trigger.

According to The Register, WhatsApp wanted to enable businesses to communicate with users via the chat app, forcing an update in the privacy policy. It seems that text in the update relating to how WhatsApp user details could be used by parent company Facebook and subsidiaries may have spooked some users away from WhatsApp in favor of a more privacy-focused home.

Facebook and WhatsApp have since delayed the implementation of its privacy policy change until May.