COVID-19: On Messenger and WhatsApp, audio and video calls more than doubled

by Kelvin
COVID-19: On Messenger and WhatsApp, audio and video calls more than doubled

Initially little concerned by the side effects of confinement in China, Facebook has seen the use of its Messenger and WhatsApp services explode since the appearance of the Coronavirus in Europe and across the Atlantic. In a note, the group mentions in particular audio and video calls which have more than doubled on the two instant messaging platforms.

WhatsApp application on smartphone

Credit: Christian Wiediger / Unsplash


In a post dated March 24, Facebook gives us news of its Messenger and WhatsApp messaging services. Crucial since the spread of COVID-19 in Europe and the United States, in particular to overcome confinement, social distancing, and allow users to keep in touch with their loved ones, the two platforms have seen their use explode for a month, explains the group, which also reports its hard work to keep its services afloat in the face of excess traffic. And there is traffic.

According to Facebook, message exchanges have indeed increased by more than 50% in one month, while audio and video calls have more than doubled on Messenger and WhatsApp in the areas most affected by the Coronavirus.

Facebook paradoxically evokes declining monetization

In Italy, very severely hit by the epidemic, the two platforms saw their average time of use increase by 70%, while the number of views on Lives broadcast via Facebook have doubled in a week. Also in Italy, the number of messages sent also increased by 50% and group calls (calls involving three or more parties) jumped by more than 1000% in one month. An increase in the number of Stories posted on Instagram and Facebook over the same period, but no precise figure is specified this time.

This overuse of Messenger and WhatsApp would not, however, be synonymous with increasing advertising revenue, assures us Facebook, on the contrary. The firm thus explains that it is struggling to monetize the services that are currently used the most and indicates that it foresees a drop in income in countries implementing the most drastic measures to fight against the virus.

Traffic difficult to manage

In his post, Facebook also mentions the difficulties encountered in allowing its various platforms to remain fully operational in these times of crisis. The group, which explains that it is used to occasional peaks in traffic and use (during the end of year celebrations or during certain sporting events), indicates that it has always had time to prepare for these occasional increases in traffic. According to Facebook, the current situation is much more difficult to manage, especially since the majority of its employees now work from their homes.

However, the group ensures that it does its utmost to maintain the stability of its services and preserve their efficiency. This requires in particular a precise estimate of peak hours and a better calibration of the servers. Tasks to be tackled Facebook, which also recalls having reduced the bitrate of the videos published on Facebook and Instagram in order to reduce their impact on networks.

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