Facebook video calls in Italy soar 1,000% amid coronavirus lockdown
Facebook said it is taking several steps to increase capacity during the heightened traffic as people are stuck indoors and working from home amid coronavirus lockdowns.
In Italy -- the epicentre of a shifting global pandemic with over 6,000 deaths -- Facebook has reported a massive rise in group video calls, and the country also witnessed a 70% rise in time spent on Facebook-owned apps like Instagram and WhatsApp. The social media giant has seen usage across its platforms surge in countries that are facing lockdowns amid the coronavirus pandemic outbreak.
Italy -- with some of the stringent restrictions -- has seen the biggest rise, with group video calls rocketing by more than 1000% in the last month.
Facebook said total messaging traffic on all its platforms had increased 50% on average across the worst affected countries. The social media giant outlined steps it is taking to increase capacity during the heightened traffic as people are stuck indoors and working from home.
"We're monitoring usage patterns carefully, making our systems more efficient, and adding capacity as required," said Alex Schultz, Vice President of analytics; and Jay Parikh, Vice President of engineering.
But Facebook acknowledges that this could become harder, according to the BBC. "Maintaining stability throughout these spikes in usage is more challenging than usual now that most of our employees are working from home. We are experiencing new records in usage almost every day."
Earlier, Facebook had lowered video quality in Europe to help reduce demand on Internet service providers. Amazon, Apple TV+ and Netflix have all announced similar measures. The announcements come after EU industry chief Thierry Breton urged streaming giants to help reduce their load on the continent’s infrastructure.
These changes mean each video will use less data, putting less strain on networks already grappling with increased traffic as people stream more content while self-isolating at home. So just "qurantine and chill".
Social media so far on quarantine feels like we’re stuck on an internet cruise lmao. All these activities popping up, the exercise classes, karaoke, the club, the food, the virtual excursions.— Angela (@TheKitchenista) March 22, 2020
Then there are the rest of us who just want to lay out by the pool all day. ????????
CNN just said due to people working from home + streaming services we are spreading the internet thin... if we run out of internet during this quarantine I will AIR THIS BITCH OUT pic.twitter.com/b1Nv1V5oHV— SABBY (@sabbydu) March 19, 2020
The only way this should’ve ended was two old men trying to figure out the internet. I love this quarantine life we live.— Kazeem Famuyide ???? (@Kazeem) March 25, 2020
I wish I could say that’s enough internet for today, but we all know there is nothing else to do since we’re all in quarantine ???????? pic.twitter.com/bqSJc1fK5I— ✨????????????????⁷ is seeing BTS????????????✨ (@xBTSxCanadax) March 25, 2020
According to reports, Internet traffic is on the rise as more and more people spend time at home, in line with social-distancing guidelines during the pandemic.