Since everyone has to stay home due to the COVID-19 virus on the loose, the only activity they have is social media. Facebook has been the focus of many as the recent statements from the company show. Facebook says it has seen a 70% increase in traffic and a 50% increase in messaging, in Italy in recent weeks. The usage of WhatsApp has also doubled in countries going through a total lockdown.
Facebook now says that they are facing a shortage of resources as the usage statistics hit the roof. Millions of people are straining their data servers. Another reason for the resource shortage is that Facebook employees are working from home for the first time in history. In addition, the workload on employees has increased as Facebook struggles to monetize content to stop the spread of misinformation about the disease.
“We’re just trying to keep the lights on over here,” Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO, remarked in an interview last week. He also exclaimed: “I’ve never seen anything like this before.”
Alex Schultz and Jay Pareikh, two Facebook VPs, wrote a joint statement saying: “The usage growth from COVID-19 is unprecedented across the industry, and we are experiencing new records in usage almost every day. Maintaining stability throughout these spikes in usage is more challenging than usual now that most of our employees are working from home.”
Facebook has reduced video quality in Europe to manage the load but it seems that wouldn’t be enough to manage the immense usage. Facebook is also expecting a reduction in revenue as they see a “weakening in our ads business in countries taking aggressive actions to reduce the spread of COVID-19.” Due to increased engagement, many of the services are also not being monetized by the company.