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There were over a billion WhatsApp calls on New Year’s Eve

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With lockdowns back in place in a number of countries, people are reverting back to the digital platforms that were the hallmark of last year. One platform, in particular, broke its own record of activity on New Year’s Eve. WhatsApp recorded 1.4 billion voice and video calls on the last day of 2020.

This was a 50% increase in the number of calls that the company recorded on the same day the previous year. WhatsApp’s big numbers were also shared by Facebook’s other platforms. Instagram for one saw 55 million live broadcasts globally.

Facebook’s own Messenger also saw a massive uptick of activity on New Year’s Eve. Video calls on Messenger were the highest they have ever been compared to the average day in 2020.

“Before COVID-19, New Year’s Eve generated Facebook’s biggest spikes in messaging, photo uploads and social sharing at midnight across the world. However, in March 2020, the early days of the pandemic produced traffic spikes that would dwarf New Year’s Eve several times over — and it lasted for months. Behind the scenes, Facebook Engineering came together to drive unprecedented efficiency improvements and make our infrastructure more resilient. This work includes load testing, disaster recovery testing and shuffling capacity. This year, New Year’s Eve looked a lot different, and we had engineering teams across Facebook’s apps, ready to support any issue, so the world could ring in 2021.”

Caitlin Banford, Technical Program Manager, Facebook

Facebook looks like it was ready for a second wave because had this happened in any other year WhatsApp may have crashed. This is good news for all of us around the world, the numbers were a significant stress test for the platform and if the COVID situation gets any worse we can at least rely on WhatsApp.

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