WhatsApp users across the world made over 1.4 billion voice and video calls on New Year’s Eve 2020, making it the most ever calls in a single day on the platform, according to Facebook. While New Year’s Eve has always resulted in big spikes in usage across Facebook’s platforms, the COVID-19 pandemic let to new records. WhatsApp calling on New Year’s Eve increased over 50 percent compared to the same day last year, as per the social media giant. Facebook’s other services, Instagram and Messenger, also experienced big surges in usage on New Year’s Eve 2020.
The festive night also marked the biggest day ever for Messenger group video calls (with 3+ people) in the US, as per a blog post by Facebook. There were nearly twice as many group calls on New Year’s Eve compared to an average day for the service. The top AR effect used in Messenger in the US was “2020 Fireworks”.
Facebook said that while New Year’s Eve is historically a busy night for its services, this year set new records, as people turned to technology to stay in touch in a socially distanced manner. Live broadcasts also shot up on New Year’s Eve, with more than 55 million live broadcasts across Facebook and Instagram globally on New Year’s Eve 2020.
Facebook platforms such as Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp had been seeing a surge in video chatting all year round, said the company. Facebook Engineering worked to drive “unprecedented efficiency improvements” and made the company’s platform more resilient, says the social media giant. The team worked on load testing, disaster recovery testing, and shuffling capacity, even on New Year’s Eve.
Meanwhile, WhatsApp has reportedly started rolling out voice and video calls to select desktop users that will enable them to make WhatsApp calls directly from their computers.