Facebook is seeing an extreme increase in usage worldwide due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the company described in a blog post on Tuesday. But most of the use is concentrated in private messaging and video calls, products that the company does not monetize. As a result, the social media giant says its business is suffering as it struggles to keep its online communication tools stable.
The blog post, written by chief analyst Alex Schultz and chief engineering officer Jay Parikh, says that total messaging on Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp in the hardest-hit areas of the world, like Italy, has increased by more than 50 percent. hundred. The post says that video calls on Messenger and WhatsApp in those same areas have more than doubled.
“The growth in COVID-19 usage is unprecedented across the industry, and we are experiencing new usage records almost every day,” the duo writes. “Maintaining stability throughout these usage spikes is more challenging than usual now that most of our employees are working from home.”
Schultz and Parikh point out that the increase in usage does not translate into a blessing in their bottom line. Messaging services are not monetizing like the Facebook News Feed or the standard Instagram feed, while spending on digital advertising is declining across the board in countries that are currently blocked from stopping the spread of COVID-19. Therefore, Facebook is being “negatively affected” like many other companies.
“Much of the increase in traffic is occurring on our messaging services, but we have also seen more people using our news and news products to get updates from family and friends,” the publication explains. “At the same time, our business is negatively affected like so many others around the world. We don’t monetize many of the services we see the most engagement in, and we’ve seen a weakening in our advertising business in countries taking aggressive measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19. “
“We are just trying to keep the lights on here,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told The New York Times in an interview published today, noting that part of the company’s struggles right now is because it maintains a vast majority of its 45,000-person manpower at home. “I’ve never seen anything like this before.”