The largest South Korean messenger app KakaoTalk (카카오톡) faces political turmoil as this past weekend's largest server outage causes millions of people to be disconnected for over a day.
On Saturday, October 15, millions of South Koreans experienced what could only be described as a "digital national disaster" as the country's largest messenger app, KakaoTalk was shut down due to a fire at its Pangyo data center near Gangnam.
Kakao vice president, Yang Hyung Seo stated in a press conference, "The Pangyo data center is our main data facility that operates around 32,000 servers, but only one-third of them – 12,000 servers – has been restored." He went on to explain, "It usually takes less than 20 minutes to restore all of the servers, but the extent of server losses is just so massive," he added, declining to say how long it would take for KakaoTalk and other affiliated services to return to normal.
By 5 pm that day, KakaoTalk users could only send text messages and not videos or photos.
KakaoTalk dominates the messenger app market in South Korea with 45.6 million users out of the country's 52 million population, making it more than 90% of the population using the app. It's app also allows users to do online shopping, and banking, as well as cab hailing services.
South Korean President Yoon Suk Youl said the government will respond to "revamp the system" considering the private company as the national infrastructure. He stated during a press conference, "Although Kakao is a network operated by a private company, it is virtually no different from a national communication network from the perspective of the people."
The president will speak to the National Assembly to make sure incidents like this will not "inconvenience" people in the future.
KakaoTalk is certainly the most used messenger service in South Korea and it has good reason to be number one! With its user-friendly interface and constantly changing cute emojis that you can purchase, it makes it easy for friends, family, and co-workers to share pictures, videos, and documents. Additionally, with its voice and video calling capabilities, many Koreans prefer it to other messenger apps around the world.
Have you used KakaoTalk before? Let us know your experiences!