Coronavirus: Facebook slows down in Europe to avoid congestion
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    Coronavirus: Facebook slows down in Europe to avoid congestion

    Credit: Tecmark UK/Flickr.

    The flow of videos on Facebook and Instagram in Europe will be temporarily curbed to avoid network congestion in light of the new coronavirus (Covid-19) epidemic, Facebook announced on Sunday. In doing so, Facebook takes similar measures to Netflix and Google.

    “To help limit any potential network congestion, we will temporarily reduce bit rates for videos on Facebook and Instagram in Europe,” said a Facebook spokesman in a statement.

    Prior to Facebook, Netflix announced on Thursday that it had taken a decision to reduce bitrates on all its streams in Europe for 30 days. On Friday, Google did the same for its YouTube video service.

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    The US tech giants were responding to a request by EU Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton.

    On Wednesday, Breton called on broadcast platforms and operators to take measures to ease the pressure on the Internet, in order to facilitate distance working and online education during the period of containment imposed in European countries to combat the spread of Covid-19.

    Containment obligations and teleworking have increased traffic on the internet, the Commissioner stressed on Wednesday.

    Breton called on streaming platforms to “cooperate with telecoms providers to adapt the speed of video streaming by temporarily offering standard definition rather than high definition, taking into account the most critical working hours”.

    The Brussels Times