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Facebook Sees Surge in Usage but Warns of Ad Slowdown

By Donna Fuscaldo - Mar 25, 2020 at 10:34AM

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Taking a page from Twitter, Facebook warned despite a surge in usage its advertising business is taking a hit because of COVID-19.

Taking a page from rival Twitter (TWTR -0.56%), Facebook (META -0.39%) warned Tuesday it is seeing a slow down in advertising sales amid the COVID-19 outbreak. 

In a blog post, the social media giant said it is experiencing a huge uptick in usage in areas most affected by the pandemic but warned that won't be enough to cushion the blow from a weakening advertising business. 

A woman on her phone using social media.


Facebook said that, in many of the countries hit hardest by the virus messaging has increased 50% during the month. In Italy, Facebook has seen a 70% increase in time spent across its apps, and views on Instagram and Facebook Live have doubled in a week.  

"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," Facebook wrote in its COVID-19 update. 

Facebook's warning mirrors what Twitter had to say a day earlier. The microblogging operator cautioned that it wouldn't meet its guidance for the first quarter because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Like Facebook, noted its user base is growing, as people seek out information on social media. 

"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," said Ned Segal, Twitter's Chief Financial Officer in a press release providing the quarterly update. "We have made solid progress on our consumer and revenue product priorities and we remain confident in our opportunity and strategy."

It's not clear if Alphabet's (GOOG -1.62%) (GOOGL -1.81%) Google will be the next to issue a warning about the current quarter.

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