Facebook reports large usage spike in areas hit hardest by coronavirus pandemic

Facebook reports large usage spike in areas hit hardest by coronavirus pandemic
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Facebook has seen a huge spike in usage as the coronavirus pandemic has hit most parts of the world, the company announced Tuesday.

"The usage growth from COVID-19 is unprecedented across the industry, and we are experiencing new records in usage almost every day," Alex Schultz and Jay Parikh, two Facebook vice presidents, wrote in a blog post.

The social media giant shared that in the countries hardest hit by the virus, total messaging has increased more than 50 percent over the last month.

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Voice and video calling have also doubled in those places, the company said.

In Italy in particular, which has nearly 70,000 confirmed cases, Facebook reported that time spent on the platform has gone up 70 percent.

In addition, calls with three or more participants have gone up over 1,000 percent in the last month.

Schultz and Parikh wrote in the blog post that the surge in usage has been particularly challenging to address because most Facebook employees are working from home.

"We’re monitoring usage patterns carefully, making our systems more efficient, and adding capacity as required," they wrote.

"To help alleviate potential network congestion, we are temporarily reducing bit rates for videos on Facebook and Instagram in certain regions," they added.