The Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram outages reverberated around the world, but nowhere more intensely than outside the United States, where WhatsApp is often the primary means of communication.
The WhatsApp and Facebook outages were a nuisance in the U.S., but crippled crucial communications abroad
While the outage generated amusing memes around the world, it was far more annoying in Latin America, India and Africa. People were cut off from their families, patients from their doctors and governments from their constituents in countries where services have become essential.
India’s nearly 500 million WhatsApp users found themselves without a critical communication tool as people became isolated.
WhatsApp is also an essential tool in Brazil, where government officials use it to communicate and students receive exam results through it, according to BBC News. It is installed on 90% of smartphones in the South American country, The Associated Press reported.
“My father is being treated by COVID in intensive care in Malaysia, and I rely on WhatsApp to communicate with my family abroad,” London-based writer and academic Anna Masing told BBC News of the six-hour outage.
Freelance photo and video editor Richard James Mendoza from Quezon City, Philippines, told NBC News that the outage left him “upside down,” as his Facebook feed stopped streaming information ranging from government COVID-19 updates to news about upcoming elections.
Internet communication, such as WhatsApp, is also crucial in Syria, where the war has disrupted much of the telecommunications infrastructure.
More than 90% of people between the ages of 16 and 54 communicate via WhatsApp in countries such as Kenya, Argentina, Malaysia, Colombia and Brazil.