Facebook’s standalone Messenger app has reached 500 million monthly active users. In April this year Messenger was at 200 million monthly active users.
Messenger is a text and photo messaging tool that allows users to communicate with their Facebook friends in a way similar to traditional SMS texting.
“Today more than 500 million people are using Messenger each month and we’re more committed than ever to make it the best possible messaging experience,” said Facebook’s director of product management, Peter Martinazzi
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Earlier Facebook removed the ability to use Messenger inside of its primary mobile app, forcing users to download Messenger instead.
Everyone who receives a message within the Facebook app is now prompted to download and move over to Messenger in order to see and reply to messages.
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“I appreciate that that was work and required friction. We wanted to do this because we believe that this is a better experience. Messaging is becoming increasingly important. On mobile, each app can only focus on doing one thing well, we think.” said Mark Zuckerberg, CEO, Facebook.
Facebook recently hired former PayPal president David Marcus as its vice president for messaging products, so the company may have plans to monetize Messenger’s fast-growing userbase sooner.
Messenger’s 500 million users means the app is now competing with WhatsApp, which reached 600 million monthly active users in August.
Whatsapp’s user base in India has crossed the 70 million mark, which is over a tenth of its global users. Whatsapp was bought by Facebook in a $19 billion deal.
The company claims that WhatsApp will continue to hold a distinct identity even after the takeover by Facebook and will not get merged with the social networking giant.