Facebook announced its advertising revenue fell victim to implications arising from the global Covid-19 (coronavirous) pandemic, despite spikes in usage of its messaging services.

In a statement, the social media giant said its business was “being adversely affected like so many others around the world”, as the company was not making money from many of the services experiencing rises in engagement.

The company noted “a weakening in our ads business in countries taking aggressive actions to reduce the spread of Covid-19”.

It highlighted growth in messaging, voice and video calling on its Messenger and WhatsApp services, with usage up more than 50 per cent in recent weeks.

In Italy, one of the countries hardest-hit by the virus, time spent on the company’s apps surged 70 per cent since the pandemic took hold at end-January. Its messaging apps alone recently registered an increase in use of more than 50 per cent in the nation, while time spent in group calls was more than 1,000 per cent higher.

To prevent network overload, on 23 March the company moved to reduce video quality on Facebook and Instagram in certain regions.

The company also pledged to work to maintain a smooth service across its apps, adding it was “monitoring usage patterns carefully, making our systems more efficient, and adding capacity as required”.

Facebook is the second major social media player to flag an impact on advertising revenue due to the pandemic, with Twitter also warning of a hit to Q1 earnings.