When Facebook Went Down Telegram Went Up. Waaay Up!

Ariel Ariel
10/8/21

This is a single insight from This Week in Apps #82 - It's All in the Timing.... Check out the full article for more insights.


Facebook's fleet went down this week for a few hours. As surreal as that may sound, one's misfortune is another's fortune, and this one is Telegram, the messaging app that's competing with WhatsApp.

On Monday, as all of Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram were down hard for some unknown reason, the world didn't end. In fact, everything that isn't Facebook got a lot of traffic. The biggest winner on the App Store was Telegram, which jumped to the top of the App Store by the evening.

Telegram's downloads topped 1.3M on Monday, a 52% over the average of the previous three Mondays. It was dethroned by Netflix (for a hot moment) and then TikTok by Tuesday, but after news of this surge spread, it rose to the top, again, late Wednesday.

Downloads remained strong Tuesday and Wednesday, adding roughly 1.2M new users each day, according to our estimates.

Unforced error. WhatsApp's dominance, which can be described as "very strong", has been weakened this year. The thing is, it wasn't competitors or changing market conditions, which are usually to blame, but rather by its own doing.

Earlier this year, Facebook made a very confusing statement in which it suggested it'll start reading all messages on the service. Backlash was immediate, and while Facebook's PR was fumbling, Telegram and Signal were seeing millions of new users.

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