Kaunda Selisho
Lifestyle Journalist
4 minute read
5 Oct 2021
9:29 am

WhatsApp and Facebook down? These apps are great alternatives

Kaunda Selisho

Monday's outage of the Facebook ecosystem left millions of users with little to no alternatives for the apps they have come to rely on.

The penalties for sending certain messages include a fine and/or three years in prison. Picture: iStock

Rapper Kanye West once sang the lyrics “no one man should have all that power” and the words rang true on Monday when millions of users around the world found themselves unable to access applications in the Facebook ecosystem.

Someone else may have said something similar before Kanye but very few people remember who that might have been and what exactly they said. The same can be said about what Mark Zuckerburg has achieved by creating Facebook and later buying WhatsApp and Instagram.

There is currently no public data about just how much usage there is on other apps like Twitter, Telegram, Signal and Reddit but Twitter displayed messages that it was experiencing high usage volumes and that functionality was affected as a result of that. 

For the internet-savvy social media user, finding other apps to use was a breeze. However, for the more tech-challenged people, here are a few suggestions for alternatives to the Facebook ecosystem.



Telegram is a cross-platform, cloud-based instant messaging system. The service also provides end-to-end encrypted video calling, VoIP, file sharing and several other features. 


Signal is a cross-platform centralised encrypted instant messaging service developed by the non-profit Signal Technology Foundation and Signal Messenger LLC. Users can send one-to-one and group messages, which can include files, voice notes, images and videos.

Google Hangouts

Google Hangouts is a cross-platform instant messaging service developed by Google. Originally a feature of Google+, Hangouts became a standalone product in 2013, when Google also began integrating features from Google+ Messenger and Google Talk into Hangouts. 


Skype is a proprietary telecommunications application that specialises in providing VoIP-based videotelephony, videoconferencing and voice calls. It also has instant messaging, file transfer, debit-based calls to landline and mobile telephones, and other features. 

True Caller

Truecaller is a smartphone application that has features of caller identification, call blocking, flash messaging, call recording, chat and voice by using the internet. It requires users to provide a standard cellphone number to register with the service. The app is available for Android and iOS.

ALSO READ: Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp hit by global outage


iMessage is an instant messaging service developed by Apple Inc. and launched in 2011. iMessage functions exclusively on Apple platforms: macOS, iOS, iPadOS and watchOS.

Short-form video

YouTube (Shorts)

Shorts is a new short-form video experience for creators and artists who want to shoot short, catchy videos using nothing but their cellphones. 


TikTok, known in China as Douyin, is a video-sharing focused social networking service owned by Chinese company ByteDance. It hosts a variety of short-form user videos, from genres like dance, comedy, and education, with durations from 15 seconds to three minutes.


Snapchat is an American multimedia instant messaging app and service developed by Snap Inc., originally Snapchat Inc. One of the principal features of Snapchat is that pictures and messages are usually only available for a short time before they become inaccessible to their recipients.



Pinterest is an American image sharing and social media service designed to enable saving and discovery of information on the internet using images and, on a smaller scale, animated GIFs and videos, in the form of pinboards.

It is also a great alternative for people who love picture-based apps the nest time the Facebook ecosystem goes down.


Flickr is an American image hosting and video hosting service, as well as an online community. It was created by Ludicorp in 2004 and is a popular way for amateur and professional photographers to host high-resolution photos. It has changed ownership several times and has been owned by SmugMug since April 20, 2018.


Tumblr is an American microblogging and social networking website founded by David Karp in 2007 and currently owned by Automattic. The service allows users to post multimedia and other content to a short-form blog. Users can follow other users’ blogs. Bloggers can also make their blogs private. 

Live feeds


Twitter is an American microblogging and social networking service on which users post and interact with messages known as “tweets”.

Registered users can post, like, and retweet tweets, but unregistered users can only read those that are publicly available. Twitter can be counted among the apps that benefited heavily on the day the Facebook ecosystem was down.


Reddit is an American social news aggregation, web content rating and discussion website. Registered members submit content to the site such as links, text posts, images, and videos, which are then voted up or down by other members.