Tuesday 24 March 2020 9:45 pm

Facebook warns ad business weakened by coronavirus crisis

Facebook has reported a “weakening” of its advertising business during the coronavirus crisis, despite a surge in people using its services.

The social media giant said this evening that in countries taking “aggressive actions” to reduce the spread of the virus, its ads business has been “adversely affected”. 

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However, in the countries hit hardest by the pandemic, total messaging has increased 50 per cent over the last month, and voice and video calling have more than doubled on Messenger and Whatsapp. 

“We have received questions about revenue, so want to provide some context here too: Much of the increased traffic is happening on our messaging services, but we’ve also seen more people using our feed and stories products to get updates from their family and friends,” the company said in a blog post this evening.  

“At the same time, our business is being adversely affected like so many others around the world. 

“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.”

Yesterday Twitter also scrapped its first quarter revenue forecast and warned of an operating loss due to the impact of coronavirus on its ads business, as advertisers pulled marketing budgets due to the uncertainty caused by the pandemic. 

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“The Covid-19 impact began in Asia, and as it unfolded into a global pandemic, it has impacted Twitter’s advertising revenue globally more significantly in the last few weeks,” chief financial officer Ned Segal said in a statement.