It is what the guy said above, it clearly says the cloud is down. I imagine this is where the characters are stored. If you then choose to proceed and ignore that, as I found, I takes you to the new character area and chucks you in a game with your new character.
A friend of mine last night did manage to somehow get past the cloud down part, got his character and continued. Yes he didn't mess too much with the modes because they wont work properly, but you guys not reading the clear message is why you have gone and made 10 different characters. I did it as my main character wont get past the race, but that's what you have done there. If you don't believe it go retry and read this time.
I expected more from a fellow saints fan, firstly it never said that my character would not be saved and i never got the error message and secondly the cloud is messed up for a lot of people, they couldn't of all misread it now surely?
What about people who are lucky enough to be able to connect all along? With the best armor and guns, and a new guy comes along with a basic pistol is it then fair on the new guy? Rockstar should give it to us as compensation.