Facebook has released a statement detailing how its services have been affected by the COVID-19 coronavirus.
VP of Analytics Alex Schultz and VP of Engineering Jay Parikh said that more people were using the companies apps as a result of social distancing.
They said that in many of the countries most affected by the virus, total messaging has increased by over 50% in the past month.
Likewise, voice and video messaging have more than doubled on both Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.
In Italy, for example, Facebook users have spent up to 70% more time across the company’s apps – with Instagram and Facebook Live views doubling in just a week.
The company added that in Italy, group calling has increased by over 1,000% during the past month.
Keeping Facebook stable
Facebook said that it is working hard to keep its apps fast, stable, and reliable during the pandemic.
However, it is struggling to achieve this.
“Our services were built to withstand spikes during events such as the Olympics or on New Year’s Eve,” said Facebook.
“However, those happen infrequently, and we have plenty of time to prepare for them.”
“The usage growth from COVID-19 is unprecedented across the industry, and we are experiencing new records in usage almost every day,” the company added.
As part of its efforts to ensure the platform remains stable, Facebook is monitoring usage patterns carefully, reducing bit rates for videos on Facebook and Instagram in some regions, and conducting testing and preparations to equip itself to deal with any problems.
“As this global public health crisis advances and more people are physically separated from their communities, we expect that people will continue to rely on our services to stay connected during this time, and we hope these connections make it easier for people to stay home,” said Facebook.
The company said that despite these increases in traffic, most areas of the business where increases in traffic have taken place aren’t monetised.
In contrast, its ads business has weakened in countries that have taken aggressive actions to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
“Our business is being adversely affected like so many others around the world,” said Facebook.