Facebook's instant-messaging empire continues to grow, CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed this week.
Facebook Messenger, the instant-messaging application that complements the company's social-network platform, has grown to 700 million monthly users, or people who send at least one message a month, Zuckerberg said at his company's annual shareholders meeting Thursday. That's up 100 million users from March. In November, the service stood at 500 million users.
Last February, Facebook took a big step toward playing a prominent role in messaging when it acquired WhatsApp, the world's most popular messaging application, for approximately $22 billion. At the time, WhatsApp had more than 400 million monthly active users and since then, it's doubled that number to 800 million, according to Zuckerberg. Between his two messaging platforms, Zuckerberg has now attracted 1.5 billion monthly users. He didn't say how many of those people overlap.
Despite the massive numbers, Facebook's apps, while leading, are not the only healthy players in the field. China-based WeChat, for example, announced in March that it has 500 million monthly active users. Another messaging app, Kik, has 200 million users.
The popularity of those services illustrates the changing landscape in texting. Traditionally, users took their phones and text-messaged each other through cellular carrier services. Over the last few years, alternatives like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger have grown in popularity. The reliance on traditional texting has therefore declined and people are communicating with friends on apps they install on their mobile devices. The applications also provide greater flexibility, allowing users to share video, audio and text.
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