UPDATE:According to a tweet from Signal, the messaging app is now back up and running. But users might have missed some messages from their contacts. Signal's tweet said, "As an unfortunate side effect of this outage, users might see errors in some of their chats. This does *not* affect your chat's security, but you may have missed a message from that contact. The next Signal app updates will fix this automatically."
Until that update comes, you can receive messages that you missed during the outage by following Signal's directions: "On Android if you see 'Bad encrypted message,' tap the menu in the top-right & tap 'Reset secure session.' On iOS tap the 'Reset Session' button below 'Received message was out of sync.' The errors do not affect chat security & will be automatically fixed in the next app update."
WhatsApp users have until February 8th to accept the messaging app's revised Terms of Service that gives Facebook control over the data you generate and have generated when using WhatsApp. If you decide not to accept the new ToS, you will end up losing access to your WhatsApp account. Many WhatsApp users have no intention or desire to share their personal data with Facebook or its subsidies and so they have decided to use Signal instead.
Signal offers end-to-end encryption, group calls and chats, and the ability to send texts, GIFs, audio and video files. Messages can be set to disappear. Photos can be edited and you can add text to the photos that you are sending via the app. Just about anything you were using WhatsApp for you can do with Signal and Signal promotes user privacy. The app is free and counts on donations from users to help support its ongoing development.
If you just recently installed Signal and opened an account, you might have picked a bad time to do so. According to DownDetector.com, over the last two days the app has been down. The number of DownDetector.com users reporting a problem peaked Friday night at 1,072. While that number has steadily dropped throughout today, Signal's own status site (status.signal.org) says that there are still issues with the messaging app. The status site has a big red "X" at the top of the page which should tell you immediately that something is wrong. And if that red "X" doesn't get your attention, the words underneath it should. They say, "Signal is experiencing technical difficulties. We are working hard to restore service as quickly as possible."
If WhatsApp's new ToS has you muttering to yourself about sharing your personal data with Facebook or Instagram, you might want to check out Signal. That is, once the current issues have been solved. To install Signal on your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad, tap on this link. If you have an Android device, install Signal from the Google Play Store by clicking on this link.