Parliament Sitting on 8 November 2022

QUESTION FOR WRITTEN ANSWER

55. Ms Hany Soh: To ask the Minister for Communications and Information (a) whether the Ministry monitors and keeps track of how many Singaporeans are affected by the global WhatsApp outage on 25 October 2022; and (b) whether IMDA is investigating the cause of the disruption and considering what prevention measures can be implemented.

Answer:

1. This response to Ms Hany Soh’s question will also address a related question filed by Mr Murali Pillai for a sitting on or after 9 November 2022.

2. Users of the messaging platform, WhatsApp, faced issues in sending and receiving messages on 25 October 2022. The outage lasted over an hour, and affected users not only in Singapore, but globally across Africa, Asia, and Europe. WhatsApp’s parent company, Meta, said that the outage was a result of a technical error, and has since restored WhatsApp’s services.

3. Singapore does not regulate Internet-based messaging platforms such as WhatsApp for quality of service and resilience. These platforms operate in the global market and users in Singapore have access to multiple alternative platforms, as well as to traditional voice calls and SMS services. Businesses would also, as part of good business continuity practice, have multiple avenues of communication with customers. The availability of alternatives would mitigate the impact of the loss of any one service. 

4. MCI and IMDA will continue to monitor global developments as the digital landscape evolves. If and when necessary, we will review our policies and regulations to balance our policy objectives of promoting economic growth, preserving social stability, and protecting public security in the digital domain.