Facebook says coronavirus is killing ad revenue

Ad buys have dipped in hard-hit countries

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Despite increasing user activity on Facebook and Facebook Messenger, the tech giant's ad revenue has weakened in response to the new coronavirus.

Facebook said in a Tuesday blog post that messaging on Messenger and Facebook-owned WhatsApp has increased by 50 percent as more people work from home over the last month. In Italy, total platform usage skyrocketed 70 percent.

"At the same time, our business is being adversely affected like so many others around the world," Facebook Vice President of Analytics Alex Schultz and Vice President of Engineering Jay Parikh wrote in the blog post.

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"We don't monetize many of the services where we're seeing increased engagement, and we've seen a weakening in our ads business in countries taking aggressive actions to reduce the spread of COVID-19," Schultz and Parikh continued.

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The two Facebook executives then explained several new measures the tech giant has taken in recent weeks to do its part in helping to prevent illness and eliminate false information surrounding COVID-19 on its platform.

The brought up two initiatives Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced last week, including its COVID-19 Information Center and World Health Organization's Health Alert on WhatsApp.

Zuckerberg on Capitol Hill. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

It also said it is reducing video quality to ease strain on internet networks, as YouTube and Netflix have also done.

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"We're monitoring usage patterns carefully, making our systems more efficient, and adding capacity as required. To help alleviate potential network congestion, we are temporarily reducing bit rates for videos on Facebook and Instagram in certain regions. Lastly, we're conducting testing and further preparing so we can quickly respond to any problems that might arise with our services," Schultz and Parikh wrote.

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