1,000% Spike In Facebook Group Calls In Italy Due To Lockdown

Users in countries that have seen lockdowns because of the spread of the coronavirus pandemic have been using Facebook and its other social media platforms, said the social media giant Facebook

There was a more than 1000 per cent spike in group calls in the last one month in Italy – a country that has seen some of the toughest restrictions because of one of the worst coronavirus pandemic in the world, the company said.

The spike in the number of group calls in the country has also been the highest in the world.

In all of the countries that have been the hardest hit because of the coronavirus pandemic, there has been a 50 per cent increase on the average in the total messaging traffic on all its platforms, said the largest social media platform in the world.

The social media giant said total messaging traffic on all its platforms had increased 50% on average across the hardest hit countries.

Apart from the Facebook platform, the company also owns the social media platform Instagram along with popular messaging app WhatsApp.

However the company also cautioned that even with the increased usage, it would not be enough for the company to prevent the expected drop in digital advertising across the world because of the coronavirus pandemic running havoc around the world.

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

In addition to the astronomical rise in the number and time spent on group calls – with three or more members participating in them, there has also been a 70 per cent rise in the time that the Italian users have spend on Facebook or any of the other social media apps owned by it, the company said.

And as more and more people are placed in lockdown and are confined within their homes in many countries around the world to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and as more use Facebook and its other social media platforms, there is also pressure on the capacity of the company and Facebook outlined steps it is taking to enhance its capacity to meet the increased demand.

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

However the company also admitted that capacity increase could be harder in the near future. “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.”

In Europe, the quality of videos on its platform has been reduced by Facebook to help reduce demand on internet service providers. Similar measures have also been taken by Amazon, Apple TV+ and Netflix.

Reduction in quality means that less data will be used for videos which will reduce the stress on the internet networks that are already struggling to address the sudden increase in traffic as more people take to online video streaming services as they get isolated at homes because of lockdowns.

(Adapted from BBC.com)

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