The surge in growth Facebook saw at the start of the coronavirus pandemic appears to be slowing down. User growth in the United States in Canada — the company’s most lucrative ad market — has declined, Facebook reported as part of its third-quarter earnings.
The company now has 196 million users in North America, down slightly from 198 million last quarter. In a statement, the company said the decrease was expected, and could continue through the end of the year.
“As expected, in the third quarter of 2020, we saw Facebook DAUs and MAUs in the US & Canada decline slightly from the second quarter 2020 levels which were elevated due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Facebook wrote in a press release. “In the fourth quarter of 2020, we expect this trend to continue and that the number of DAUs and MAUs in the US & Canada will be flat or slightly down compared to the third quarter of 2020.”
Facebook lost users in the US this quarter + company expects it will lose more next as people get back to more “normal” use post-COVID pic.twitter.com/fWPn2b60zc
The company had previously reported a large surge in growth at the start of the year due to widespread coronavirus lockdowns. Facebook isn’t seeing the same slowdown everywhere, though, and the social network is continuing to add new users in Asia and its “rest of world” markets. The company also continued to tout its “family of apps” metrics, which combines Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger. That number rose to 2.54 billion “daily active people” in September, according to the company.
The slowdown also doesn’t seem to have affected Facebook’s revenue, which was up to $21.4 billion for the quarter, an increase of 22 percent from last year and better than analyst expectations for the company. Facebook reported more than $18 billion in ad revenue last quarter, despite a well-publicized advertiser boycott.
During a call with analysts, CEO Mark Zuckerberg emphasized Facebook’s work to prepare for the upcoming election, and said he’s worried about the possibility of “civil unrest” after election day. The company has taken numerous steps over the last several weeks and months to prepare for the election, like banning political ads after election day and cracking down on QAnon.
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Canada reported just under 6,000 new coronavirus infections Friday, setting another daily record as health officials across the country continue their pleas to the public to slow the spread of the pandemic.
The 5,963 new cases reported Friday brought the national total to 358,741. Of those, 286,500 patients are now considered to have recovered from the virus.
Officials also reported another 96 deaths over the past 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 11,894. Another 2,350 patients are receiving care for COVID-19 in hospital, as the country inches closer to the peak of over 3,000 hospitalizations seen in early May.
Friday’s cases more than tripled the highest number of daily cases seen in April, when the first wave of the pandemic crested. It’s also the eighth new record set this month alone as the virus spreads like wildfire in communities across the country.
As cases explode, Canadians are admitting to feeling fatigued by the ongoing pandemic. A new Ipsos poll released Friday found nearly half of respondents are getting tired of public health measures, even though nearly 90 per cent still intend to take them seriously.
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On Twitter, Canada’s chief medical health officer Dr. Theresa Tam said that attitude was the only defence against further spread of COVID-19.
“As with our last effort to bend the curve, this won’t be a quick solution, but a test of our determination and endurance,” she wrote.
“With resilience and resolve, let’s focus on what we can do to protect our families, friends & communities.”
3/3 As with our last effort to bend the curve, this won’t be a quick solution, but a test of our determination and endurance. With resilience and resolve, let’s focus on what we can do to protect our families, friends & communities. https://t.co/XA6qs0saSv
One of those doctors, deputy chief public health officer Dr. Howard Njoo, said that timeline was “optimistic” but added he shares that optimism with the prime minister.
Njoo and other officials said this week that they expect a first round of six million vaccination doses to be delivered to provinces and territories in early 2021, and expect to have at least one vaccine candidate approved by the end of this year.
1:36 Coronavirus: Dr. Njoo responds to Trudeau’s statement that majority of Canadians could be vaccinated by next September
Coronavirus: Dr. Njoo responds to Trudeau’s statement that majority of Canadians could be vaccinated by next September
Ontario set a new daily record itself Friday after reporting 1,855 new cases along with 20 new deaths. The province’s health minister said the staggering total was not unexpected, as restrictions in hard-hit areas like Toronto only kicked in on Monday.
Christine Elliot said the rising infections are coming in part from some of the events and celebrations that have taken place around the province over the past few weeks.
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Quebec reported 1,269 more infections and another 38 deaths. The province’s death toll, already the highest in the country, is approaching 7,000.
Saskatchewan and Manitoba reported 329 and 344 new cases, respectively. Both provinces also saw new deaths: Saskatchewan reported that four more people had died, while another 14 deaths occurred in Manitoba.
New restrictions came into effect in Saskatchewan Friday banning all team sports and limiting capacity at public venues like churches, movie theatres and casinos to 30 people.
2:06 Ex-NATO mission head Fortin to lead Canada’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout
Ex-NATO mission head Fortin to lead Canada’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout
Alberta added another 1,227 new cases and nine more deaths. The province has more active cases than any other jurisdiction in Canada and has the highest seven-day infection rate in the country, according to federal data, with 209 cases per 100,000 people.
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New measures came into effect Friday to help blunt the spike in cases. Private indoor social gatherings are banned, capacity limits have been imposed on stores and students between grades 7 and 12 switch to remote learning on Monday.
The province’s justice minister said 700 more peace officers have been given the power to enforce those restrictions.
British Columbia also set a new record with 911 new cases, while 11 more deaths were also reported. Hospitalizations also topped 300 for the first time ever.
Cases are continuing to surge nearly three weeks after stringent new restrictions were imposed in parts of the province where infections are high, suggesting they haven’t been effective. Health officials said workplaces, which were not included in the orders, have become a major source of transmission.
In Atlantic Canada, three provinces reported a combined 25 new cases, though no new deaths were reported. Prince Edward Island did not release new testing data Friday.
0:53 Coronavirus: Trudeau pleads with young people to download COVID Alert app
Coronavirus: Trudeau pleads with young people to download COVID Alert app
Four more cases were reported in Nunavut and another three were added in Yukon, while the Northwest Territories did not report any new infections. That territory is the only jurisdiction in Canada with no active cases.
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As of 9 p.m. ET, more than 61.5 million infections have been confirmed worldwide since the beginning of the pandemic, according to Johns Hopkins University. The global death toll has surpassed 1.44 million.
The United States continues to lead the world in both cases and deaths, both of which have grown at alarming rates this month. The country surpassed 13 million cases on Friday, while over 264,000 people have died to date.
— With files from Global’s Rachel Gilmore and the Canadian Press
At the end of a difficult week that saw several records shattered for COVID-19 infections and deaths in B.C., the province now has more than twice as many active cases per capita as Ontario.
The federal government makes daily, rolling average, and active case counts available in an infographic, and the contrast is stark: while the prairie provinces and Nunavut struggle with soaring infections per capita, B.C. is slowly catching up and in far worse shape than the two most populous provinces in Canada.
As of Friday, B.C. has 189 active COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people, compared to 135 in Quebec and just 88 in Ontario. Alberta (321), Saskatchewan (268), Nunavut (387), and Manitoba (646) saw the highest active per capita infections.
CTV News asked provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry whether she has considered adopting some of Ontario’s strategies, since it’s faring better in the second wave, such as a colour-coded notification system making it clear and easy for people to know what restrictions are in effect.
“We all have our own pandemic, and as we know the issues that we’re dealing with are focussed in some areas and are different in different areas of the province, so our approach has always been to look at what is happening here and tailor our approach,” insisted Henry. “Many of our measures are ones we put in measures some time ago that Ontario has included in some of their colour zones now. It’s not like we can compare what we’re doing. we’re doing the things we need to do to manage what we’re dealing with here in B.C.”
The provincial health officer has faced intense criticism and even outright anger from various industries and sectors for implementing new rules and restrictions that aren’t clear or communicated directly to stakeholders, with murky rules between similar businesses that are clarified days later. Experts have warned that kind of confusion can undermine public health efforts.
CTV News pointed out the daily infections keep growing despite new restrictions implemented more than a week ago, and while Henry acknowledged she’s considering new measures, she also defended the current set of restrictions, including a “social lockdown,” and pointed out it takes time to see results.
“We still are in a place where we’re not surprised to see cases going up, obviously we want to see that corner bend,” she said. “I’m talking daily with my colleagues about what’s going on, what the situation is, what are the things we need to think about in terms of addressing them and what measures can we look at modifying or changing, so those are conversations we can continue to have and we will have a better idea next week.”
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