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Messenger reaches half a billion users, but not by choice
Tue, 11th Nov 2014
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Facebook’s Messenger is now one of the most used mobile messaging apps in the world, with more than 500 million users logging in every month, the company announced yesterday.

“Messaging is an important part of how people stay connected and since Messenger launched in 2011 we’ve been passionate about giving people a faster and more expressive way to communicate” says Peter Martinazzi, Facebook's director of product management.

Earlier in the year, Facebook began forcing people to download the separate Messenger for mobile chat if they wished to use it, annoying those who didn’t want to download a separate app for messaging. Before the change, Messenger had around 200 million monthly users.

“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” Martinazzi says.

The need for a separate messaging app explained by CEO Mark Zuckerberg was that Facebook thought it could provide a better, faster messaging product by separating it, an explanation that has not fully satisfied all users.

Facebook's main app has around 1.35 billion users; Facebook-owned WhatsApp has at least 600 million users. WeChat, owned by China's Tencent, has at around 438 million users, as of this past August.

The Messenger app was the first of Facebook’s standalone app, and unlike core Facebook apps, it focuses on one use– messaging.

The company says they have continued to improve speed and reliability, with updates to Messenger shipping every two weeks so it continues to evolve and improve.

“With Messenger, you can reach people instantly. It is just as fast as SMS but gives you the ability to express yourself in ways that SMS can’t. You can send stickers or videos, take selfies, chat with groups and make free calls.

“This is an exciting milestone but with a half billion people relying on Messenger to communicate and connect, it is also a reminder that there is so much left for us to do.”