Facebook struggles to handle traffic surge caused by quarantine

Brittany A. Roston - Mar 24, 2020, 7:23 pm CDT
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Facebook struggles to handle traffic surge caused by quarantine

Facebook says that it has experienced a huge uptick in the use of many of its services as the number of people quarantined grows. These increases are largely impacting the services that Facebook hasn’t monetized; as well, it says that its ad business has dipped in countries taking more ‘aggressive’ measures against the pandemic. As a result, it has taken multiple steps to keep its platform stable.

Since the coronavirus outbreak kicked off in Italy, Facebook says its apps have experienced a 70-percent increase in time spent using the services. Facebook Live and Instagram views are up, people are making far more group calls than before, and messaging rates have skyrocketed. Similar activity is being seen in Messenger and WhatsApp in other countries impacted by the virus.

Facebook is attempting to handle this situation as many of its employees work from home, compounding the challenges, it explained in a blog post on Tuesday. Spikes in usage have required it to take steps to keep its services stable, including making its systems more efficient, cutting Instagram and Facebook bitrates in some countries, and testing ahead of any issues it expects may happen.

Facebook says it is working to keep its apps stable, which is important given the huge number of people who rely on them for everything from staying in contact with friends and family to getting work and school projects completed. As well, Facebook has introduced a COVID-19 Information Center on its main platform to help keep the public informed and WHO is using a WhatsApp chatbot to stay ahead of misinformation.

A number of online services have seen a massive increase in traffic as many people turn to digital services to keep the world running. Many schools and companies have ordered their students and employees to work from home, helping prevent the spread of the coronavirus, resulting in a huge increase in traffic from video streaming services.


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