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Three-quarters of AC readers hopped on SMS, Telegram, or Signal when WhatsApp went down earlier this week

Google Mesages on a Pixel 3
Google Mesages on a Pixel 3 (Image credit: Joe Maring / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • After the massive Facebook outage this week, we wanted to know which messaging platforms our readers relied on.
  • Fully 30% of WhatsApp users pivoted to their default SMS app.
  • Almost an equal number took up Telegram, while nearly as many switched to Signal.

When a service as large and interconnected as Facebook goes down, it affects just about everyone and everything we do, including how we communicate with each other on our Android phones. Monday's outage not only affected Facebook proper, but its messaging platforms like WhatsApp, Messenger, and even Instagram DMs. Given that billions of people worldwide rely on these services, we wanted to know how their absence affected our readers and which messaging apps they turned to during the outage (and after).

It seems at least some of the major competitors fared well, with Telegram saying it gained 70 million new users this week, and Signal also reported a significant jump in its install base. Judging by our results, these claims appear pretty accurate.

According to our poll, almost a third of WhatsApp users simply started using their default SMS app, while just about the same amount of people moved on to Telegram. Signal was also a popular alternative, with nearly a quarter of respondents saying that was the messaging app they turned to. No other app in our poll received more than a percentage point of the votes.

Something like switching chat apps is bound to generate a lot of controversy. Here are some of our favorite fan responses to the poll:

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It will certainly be interesting to see if the gains that Telegram and Signal saw will hold and continue to grow or if WhatsApp usage will rebound soon.

The poll has closed, but we'll be sharing a new poll this weekend — so be on the lookout!

Jeramy is proud to help *Keep Austin Weird* and loves hiking in the hill country of central Texas with a breakfast taco in each hand. When he's not writing about smart home gadgets and wearables, he's defending his relationship with his smart voice assistants to his family. You can follow him on Twitter at @jeramyutgw.

5 Comments
  • This is one of the reasons I use SMS, it is reliable and quick, also, everyone I message have got SMS, not everyone have facebook, WhatsApp or other apps. So if I send a message via SMS, I am pretty sure that the person will get it.
  • Wouldn't even be able to find them on those other apps if they aren't already using them.
  • That is true, but SMS is still less hassle, one system, to message everyone.
  • Your poll is not really that accurate. If you'll look at the comments in the 1st article, you'll see that many of us, my self included, didn't have to switch but you didn't give that option in your poll, you just assumed everyone had to jump to something else. It's that way with with all of your polls, a few choices but never a "none of the above" choice and then you decide that we MUST be leaning a certain way.
  • Didn't even know that WhatsApp went down until I saw it in the media.