Facebook has published statistics detailing how its platforms were used on New Year’s Eve and confirmed that 31 December 2020 broke the record for most WhatsApp calls made on a single day.
“New Year’s Eve is a historically busy night for our services, but this year set new records,” said Facebook.
Over 1.4 billion voice and video calls were made on New Year’s Eve 2020 globally, which is a 50% increase compared to New Year’s Eve 2019.
Facebook also confirmed that New Year’s Eve 2020 saw the most Messenger group video calls held in the US and involving three or more people.
It said there were nearly twice as many Messenger group calls on New Year’s Eve 2020 compared to the average day, and the most popular AR effect on Facebook Messenger on New Year’s Eve 2020 was “2020 fireworks”.
Facebook and Instagram Live were also popular platforms on New Year’s Eve 2020, with over 55 million live broadcasts across these live video streaming platforms.
“Before COVID-19, New Year’s Eve generated Facebook’s biggest spikes in messaging, photo uploads and social sharing at midnight across the world,” said Facebook technical program manager Caitlin Banford.
“However, in March 2020, the early days of the pandemic produced traffic spikes that would dwarf New Year’s Eve several times over — and it lasted for months.”
“Behind the scenes, Facebook Engineering came together to drive unprecedented efficiency improvements and make our infrastructure more resilient. This work includes load testing, disaster recovery testing and shuffling capacity,” explained Banford.
“This year, New Year’s Eve looked a lot different, and we had engineering teams across Facebook’s apps, ready to support any issue, so the world could ring in 2021.”
The details provided by Facebook regarding the spike in activity across its apps is represented visually below.