What is COVID-19 or novel coronavirus?
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a new virus that originated from Wuhan, China.
What are its symptoms?
The disease causes respiratory illness (like the flu) with symptoms such as a cough, fever, and in more severe cases, difficulty breathing.
How can you protect yourself from the virus?
You can protect yourself by washing your hands frequently, avoiding touching your face, and avoiding close contact (1 meter or 3 feet) with people who are unwell.
How is the outbreak impacting businesses?
All businesses are shutting down to curb the spread. Now if the businesses are shut, there’s no revenue generation. With no revenue generation, businesses are running into huge losses. Easy math, right?
During this, companies are still paying their employees. Which means extra spending, with zero income or profits.
For example, in China, retail sales dropped by 20.5% and the unemployment rate jumped to 6.2 in February.
And this outbreak is affecting every industry there is- travel, retail, MNCs, manufacturing, marketing! The list just won’t end.
And in between all of this, it’s also affecting the social media platforms. You ask me how? Read on to know.
Facebook Is Seeing Lower Ad Spend Amid COVID-19 Lockdowns
Due to worldwide lockdown, the number of users is increasing for Facebook.
- The total exchange of messages saw an increase of more than 50%, across both platforms- WhatsApp and Messenger.
- There was an increase of 70% in Messenger group video calls and more than double the regular numbers for video calls in WhatsApp.
- Overall U.S. traffic from Facebook to other websites has increased by more than 50% week-on-week.
According to Facebook-
“During this emergency, we’re doing everything we can to keep our apps fast, stable and reliable. Our services were built to withstand spikes during events such as the Olympics or on New Year’s Eve. However, those happen infrequently, and we have plenty of time to prepare for them. The usage growth from COVID-19 is unprecedented across the industry, and we are experiencing new records in usage almost every day.”
“We are working to keep our apps running smoothly, while also prioritizing features such as our COVID-19 Information Center on Facebook as well as the World Health Organization’s Health Alert on WhatsApp. We’re monitoring usage patterns carefully, making our systems more efficient, and adding capacity as required.”
Alongwith these, Facebook has also joined youtube in reducing the quality of the videos from HD to SD by default. This is because of overload on the app and network.
But, there’s one more problem that the social networking platform is facing- less ad spends by businesses.
Since almost everything is shut, marketers are locating their budgets and pausing the ad campaigns for good.
However, even if this strategy is impacting Facebook’s ad revenue, it remains to be a key platform amongst other players.
Instagram Launches ‘Stay Home’ Sticker and Story to Encourage Social Distancing Amid the Outbreak
Instagram introduced the ‘Stay Home’ sticker to encourage social distancing due to the outbreak of pandemic worldwide.
As per Instagram:
“Today we’re launching a new “Stay Home” sticker that you can find in Stories. If you use the sticker, your photo or video will be added to a shared Instagram story where people can see how you’re staying home and staying safe.
Here’s how you can use the sticker strategically:
- Professionals: Add work-from-home tips to maximize productivity which will also help them adapt to a new working environment.
- Parents: Offer tips to other parents by showing how you’re adapting to having your kids home from school.
- Fitness enthusiasts: Share at-home fitness tips with others, since all gyms are closed and there’s not much activity to indulge in.
- Freelancers: Share what you’ve gained by learning so others can benefit from your experience.
WhatsApp Launches World Health Organization Chatbot to Answer Coronavirus Queries
WhatsApp introduces queries chatbox related to Coronavirus, in conjunction with the World Health Organization (WHO).
This is an intelligent move since a lot of fake news is being spread over WhatsApp, which in turn, is leading people to believe in the rumors.
“The new service, which is free to use, has been designed to answer questions from the public about Coronavirus, and to give prompt, reliable and official information 24 hours a day, worldwide. This will also serve government decision-makers by providing the latest numbers and situation reports.”
How you can use the feature?
Users should first save the number (+41 79 893 1892) to their contacts.
Then text the word ‘Hi’ in a WhatsApp message.
The bot will automatically respond via a series of prompts, sharing important queries and information related to Coronavirus.
For now, the bot is initially launching in English. But it will soon be available in Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish.
Facebook Adds New COVID-19 Information Panel to the Top of All User News Feeds
Facebook is adding a new information panel to its news feed which is on the top of the feed.
It will feature the latest official news and confirmed updates on the outbreak.
Along with this, it will also have links to helpful articles, videos, and posts that will talk about social distancing.
Also, it will provide information on preventing the spread of the virus.
The UK Government is Partnering With Social Media Influencers to Combat COVID-19 Misinformation
The UK Government will work with YouTubers and influencers to help spread information about the outbreak.
The aim of the whole program is to help spread positive information about coronavirus.
Here are some of the influencers who’ll be taking part-
- Bianca Gonzalez, a health expert and YouTube vlogger from the Philippines with over 7 million followers on Twitter
- Dr. Jahangir Kabir, a Bangladeshi health expert with over 1 million Facebook followers
- @KlikDokter – An Indonesian health blog with over 4 million Facebook followers
Instagram Adds New Processes to Help Users Find Accurate Updates on the Outbreak
Instagram’s main objective is to remove harmful misinformation related to the virus.
Meanwhile, it will be highlighting links to the World Health Organization (WHO), the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and local health authorities when someone taps on a hashtag related to COVID-19 or Coronavirus.
Snapchat Adds Dedicated COVID-19 Update Section to Discover Tab
Snapchat is adding a tab to its Discover section which is dedicated to updates about the outbreak.
It will bring into light the latest updates and news from confirmed, reliable sources, along with official statements.
Facebook’s Testing a New COVID-19-Themed Reaction Emoji
Facebook is working on a new reaction dedicated to the situation because of the pandemic.
The platform is known for coming up with various theme-based reactions like it did for Mother’s day by introducing a ‘flower’ reaction, which meant ‘thankful’.
WhatsApp saw a 40% increase in usage due to the pandemic
WhatsApp has seen a 40% increase in usage due to the pandemic.
The usage grew from an initial 27% bump in the earlier days of the pandemic to 41% in the mid-phase.
For countries already in the later phase of the pandemic, the usage jumped by 51%.