Following the streaming services, social networks also decided to lower the quality of the video to help the European communications infrastructure cope with the increased workload. The load on the data transmission network has a significant increase as a result of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, when many people should stay at home and seek entertainment on the Internet due to quarantine restrictions.
Facebook and Instagram reduce video quality in Europe
A company spokesman said that both Facebook and Instagram will “temporarily” reduce the video bitrate in Europe. According to him, this will help partners cope with “bandwidth limitations” and keep in touch with people.
“To help alleviate any potential network congestion, we will temporarily reduce bit rates for videos on Facebook and Instagram in Europe. We have a commitement to working with our partners to manage any bandwidth constraints during this period of heavy demand, while also ensuring people are able to remain connected using Facebook apps and services during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Such a decision should not be surprising. While services such as Netflix, Prime Video, and YouTube are clearly the main contributors to data traffic congestion, huge Facebook and Instagram audiences (as of the summer of 2019, Facebook had 288 million daily users in Europe) could cause additional workload if these users are more active than usual. For example, many users make video calls to keep in touch with family and friends. Although this is unpleasant news for fans of social networks, it can help people work from home and get the expected Internet services.
The coronavirus, which originated in China in late December, has since spread to 178 countries, infecting over 340,000 and killing about 14,000 globally.
It is worth to mention that recent reports claim that the US government is in talks with Facebook, Google and other technology companies about the possibility of using smartphone location data to combat the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.