Facebook Usage Surges Due to Coronavirus Pandemic

Facebook Usage Surges Due to Coronavirus Pandemic
Written by:
Michael Harris
25th March, 14:05
  • The usage of Facebook-owned platforms soars as people are stuck at home due to coronavirus
  • The biggest spike in usage has been recorded in Italy, where group calls are rising more than 1,000%
  • Facebook says its business is suffering as it doesn’t monetize the services with the increased traffic

Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) worldwide usage is skyrocketing because of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, the social media giant wrote in a blog post yesterday. However, the spike in usage mostly comes from the messenger and video calls, the services that Facebook doesn’t monetize.

Consequently, Facebook’s business is suffering while the company strives to keep its services stable.

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“We don’t monetize many of the services where we’re seeing increased engagement,” Facebook wrote in the blog post.

Italy, the country with the largest number of coronavirus cases after China, has seen the biggest spike in usage, with group calls surging over 1,000% in the last month.

According to Facebook’s statement, the messaging traffic across all its networks soared 50% in the worst-affected countries. Facebook is also the owner of Instagram and WhatsApp.

Apart from the huge increase in the usage of group calls, the consumption of Facebook-owned platforms rose 70% in Italy.

Facebook said it will take measures to boost capacity during the increased traffic as people are isolated and working from home. However, digital ad spending is declining at all levels across countries that are in lockdown to prevent the pandemic from spreading.

“We’re monitoring usage patterns carefully, making our systems more efficient, and adding capacity as required,” wrote Alex Schultz, vice president of analytics, and Jay Parikh, vice president of engineering in the blog post.

Facebook already took some actions such as decreasing video quality in Europe to cut demand on internet service providers. Amazon, Apple TV+ and Netflix have also adopted similar measures.

This means that each video will consume less data, making it less difficult for networks already fighting with heightened traffic as people use the platforms much more when stuck at home.

However, Schultz and Parikh said keeping the platforms stable might get more challenging in the days to come.

“Maintaining stability throughout these spikes in usage is more challenging than usual now that most of our employees are working from home. We are experiencing new records in usage almost every day.”

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