By MAE ANDERSON
NEW YORK (AP) — The six-hour outage at Facebook, Instagram, and Whatsapp was a headache for many casual users but far more serious for the millions of people worldwide who rely on social media sites to run their businesses or communicate with relatives, fellow parents, teachers or neighbors.
When all three services went dark Monday, it was a stark reminder of the power and reach of Facebook, which owns the photo-sharing and messaging apps.
Around the world, the breakdown at WhatsApp left many at a loss. In Brazil, the messaging service is by far the most widely used app in the country, installed on 99% of smartphones, according to tech pollster Mobile Time.
WhatsApp has become essential in Brazil to communicate with friends and family, as well as for a variety of other tasks, such as ordering food. Offices, various services, and even the courts had trouble making appointments, and phone lines became overwhelmed.
Hundreds of thousands of Haitians in their homeland and abroad fretted over the WhatsApp outage.
Many of the country’s more than 11 million people depend on it to alert one another about gang violence in particular neighborhoods or to talk to relatives in the U.S. about money transfers and other important matters. Haitian migrants traveling to the U.S. rely on it to find each other or share key information such as safe places to sleep.
Nelzy Mireille, a 35-year-old unemployed woman who depends on money sent from relatives abroad, said she stopped at a repair shop in the capital of Port-au-Prince because she thought her phone was malfunctioning.
“I was waiting on confirmation on a money transfer from my cousin,” she said. “I was so frustrated.”
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