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Slack Says It Fixed Slowdown That Sidelined Some Workers

Slack, the widely used business communication tool, experienced slowdowns in service on Tuesday, frustrating workers who have become increasingly dependent on it as they work from home.

Users complained of slow messages or messages that were not sending starting around 8 a.m. Eastern.

At 8:10 a.m., the company apologized and said it was investigating the problem. At round 9:48 a.m., Slack said it appeared that most of the problems had been fixed.

“The performance issues we’ve been seeing should be mostly resolved, and there should no longer be any issues with messaging,” the company said in a statement. “However, users may still see some errors as we work to fully fix the issue. We’ll let you know when we’re confident this is fully resolved.”

By 11:30 a.m., the company said there were no new reports of problems.

“Users should have no issues sending messages or connecting,” the company said.

The communication platform has grown in recent years as an essential workplace tool, with more than 10 million users, many of them in media organizations, who flock to other platforms like Twitter to complain when there’s an outage. More than 750,000 companies use the service, according to Slack.

“We know how important it is for people to stay connected and we are working hard to get everyone running as normal,” a company spokesman said in an email that urged users to monitor the company’s website for updates. The company did not explain what caused the slowdown.

Slack has touted itself as an alternative to email and as a more efficient way for companies to communicate with employees. But with its frequent pings and notifications, workers and employers have said that Slack can hurt productivity.

Workers have also complained that its notification system pressures them into working during their off hours or on the weekend. Some employees fear that their bosses are peering into their direct messages with other employees.

So it’s no surprise that on Tuesday, some users joked on Twitter that the slowdown felt like a brief vacation.

“Slack is down,” wrote Jill Krajewski, a senior social editor for Vice. “Finally I’m free.”

The slowdown in service came days after Google users experienced a widespread service disruption for just over an hour that affected the company’s email, YouTube and Google documents services.

Those disruptions seemed to be focused around the East Coast of the United States, according to Downdetector, a website that tracks internet disruptions.

They raised anxiety among people already tense about technology’s role ahead of the Nov. 3 election and the heavy dependence on online services for education, work and entertainment during the coronavirus pandemic.

The outages also seemed to affect corporate customers of Google’s cloud computing service, who rely on the technology giant for its computing infrastructure.

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