WhatsApp Sets an All-Time Record as Users Welcome in the New Year Virtually

WhatsApp Sets an All-Time Record as Users Welcome in the New Year Virtually
Photo: Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

Facebook’s cross-platform chat app WhatsApp saw a record number of users on New Year’s Eve as some people smartly opted to celebrate the end of 2020 virtually this year. Because even if that cursed year from Hades is finally behind us, the covid-19 pandemic is definitely not.

More than 1.4 billion video and voice calls were placed on New Year’s Eve, the app’s most ever in a single day, per a company blog post. While Facebook said that New Year’s Eve has historically been its busiest night, it saw a roughly 50% spike compared to this time last year.

It was a big day for the company’s other chat app Facebook Messenger as well, which saw nearly twice as many group video calls compared to its daily average. There were also 55 million live broadcasts across Facebook and Instagram worldwide.

“[I]n March 2020, the early days of the pandemic produced traffic spikes that would dwarf New Year’s Eve several times over — and it lasted for months,” said Facebook’s technical program manager Caitlin Banford in the post. “Behind the scenes, Facebook Engineering came together to drive unprecedented efficiency improvements and make our infrastructure more resilient.”

Successfully hosting a record number of users on New Year’s Eve is a testament to those months of testing out its beefed-up infrastructure and withstanding increased traffic on its apps amid widespread lockdowns.

“This year, New Year’s Eve looked a lot different, and we had engineering teams across Facebook’s apps, ready to support any issue, so the world could ring in 2021.”

Who knows, maybe this time next year the world will be a little less on fire and we’ll be able to celebrate New Year’s Eve in person again. Or maybe we’ll be stuck counting down the end of 2021 in our underground bunkers after the murder hornets and rodent tornadoes overrun the surface. My guess is it’s a 50/50 shot at this point.