Messaging app Signal has stopped working in the wake of a huge surge in new users.
The social media platform, which bills itself as a more privacy-focused alternative to the incumbent tech giants, suffered glitches this afternoon that prevented messages from sending.
There was a spike in users reporting problems with connection and logging in at around 4pm, according to tracking website Down Detector.
“Signal is experiencing technical difficulties,” the company said in a tweet. “We are working hard to restore service as quickly as possible.”
According to a screenshot posted on Signal’s Twitter account, downloads of the app on the Google Play store jumped from 10m to more than 50m in a single day on Tuesday.
Signal also jumped to the top of the charts on the Apple app store this week.
The app’s fortunes were also boosted by a tweet posted by Tesla tycoon Elon Musk, which read simply: “Use Signal”. The tweet has been liked more than 360,000 times.
But the sudden surge in interest has prompted questions over whether the challenger social media app is ready to deal with the influx of new users.
Last week Signal apologised for a delay in sending out verification codes to new sign-ups after it was inundated with requests.
It is not the first time a tech platform has been forced to rapidly adapt to a sudden increase in demand.
Last year Zoom was forced to roll out urgent security updates as it battled to keep up with a sudden spike in demand for video conferencing services due to the Covid-19 outbreak.