WhatsApp on New Year Eve recorded more than 1.4 billion audio and video calls. This unarguably the most ever calls in a single day since the launch of audio and video calls a couple of years ago on the app. According to a Facebook post, WhatsApp calling increased over 50 percent compared to the same day in 2019.
Considering we are in a pandemic and most people spend their time at home these days, the record-breaking figure did not come as a surprise. Governments all over the world have been forced to introduce different lockdown and restriction models to slow down the spread of the COVID-19 disease.
As a matter of fact, videoconferencing apps including Zoom, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams, and the likes have all experienced a jump in terms of usage in the last one year. It will, however, be interesting to see what the figure from those apps would look like considering what WhatsApp just released.
On Messenger, Facebook said “New Year’s Eve 2020 was the biggest day ever for Messenger group video calls (3+ people) in the US, with nearly 2X more group video calls on NYE compared to the average day.”
Last April, WhatsApp increased the number of people that can actively take part in group calls. Participants will be able to have group voice and video calls with up to eight people on WhatsApp. The company reiterated in a blog post announcing the update that calls will be made via its secured end-to-end encryption.
The more the merrier is what they always say—and this new update could improve engagement on a platform rated as one of the most used in the world. I have not given it a shot yet; but would most certainly change pretty soon.
In other news, the Federal Trade Commission has filed a lawsuit against Facebook seeking to separate Instagram and WhatsApp from Facebook. Joining the FTC as applicants are 48 states and regional attorneys who seek to have Instagram and WhatsApp removed from direct control of Facebook.
The complaint, according to Android Police, allege that Facebook has demonstrated a pattern of squashing competition by acquiring smaller companies before they can become big enough to pose any real threat to Facebook’s market dominance.
The FTC also filed a separate lawsuit asking the court to “undo” Facebook’s 2014 acquisition of WhatsApp as well as that of Instagram which occurred earlier in 2012. What the FTC is praying the court to do in essence is to spin both companies [WhatsApp and Instagram] into independent companies.