Snapchat outage leaves users unable to send or receive messages

Difficulty accessing app comes at bad time for platform in fight against TikTok

Snapchat, the messaging app that has been engaged in a battle with its rival TikTok, went down for tens of thousands of users on Wednesday.

Difficulties with accessing the Snapchat app, as well as sending or receiving messages, were registered by tens of thousands of users, who were told by the company to “hang tight”.

The web monitoring group Downdetector recorded significant outages involving Snapchat, which came in two peaks over a number of hours on Wednesday before Snapchat said the problem had been “fixed.”

The Snapchat customer support Twitter account said: “We’re aware that some Snapchatters are having issues using the app right now – hang tight, we’re looking into it!” Without explanation, it later said: “The issue has been fixed! If you’re still having trouble, please let us know. Happy Snapping!”

Last week Facebook experienced one of the worst outages in its history, leaving users unable to access its platforms, including Instagram and WhatsApp, for several hours. It subsequently said an error during routine maintenance of its network of data centres had caused a cascade of problems that took down its platforms for more than six hours.

At Snapchat it was initially unclear what had caused the outage. The problem could not have come at a worse time in its fight to prevent an exodus of users to TikTok.

Late last year Snapchat introduced a new feature call Spotlight in an effort to head off competition from its Chinese rival. Spotlight, like TikTok, is a stream of short video clips, algorithmically curated and presented so users can rapidly flick between them.

Snapchat has also started to pay users for snaps that have gone viral, with the platform offering a share of a daily $1m (£747,000) prize.

Snapchat, co-founded by Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy, former students at Stanford University, was initially best known for its fleeting messages that would disappear after a time, gaining it a reputation as a “sexting” app. It has continued to evolve, with a successful initial public offering in 2016 that confirmed its co-founders as overnight billionaires. Its holding company, Snap Inc, was valued at $100bn earlier this year amid a market comeback for digital adverts.

Contributor

Ben Quinn

The GuardianTramp

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