Facebook announced this week that Facebook Messenger, its standalone messaging client that was first deployed in 2011, hit a new major milestone. The service is now used by 500 million people around the globe. That would be a pretty huge figure if not for one major problem: Facebook forced its users to download Facebook Messenger instead of using the now defunct in-app version. It’s still impressive, however, considering that WhatsApp, which Facebook paid about $19 billion to acquire, had 600 million monthly active users back in August.
Social networking giant Facebook said its new messaging service now has more than 500 million users worldwide. Users of the separate Messenger app have more than doubled from 200 million in April, the company said. Facebook had faced a backlash after it announced it would be forcing users to download the app to send private messages to friends over the main Facebook service. Users started being pushed to download the app – launched in 2011 – in July. “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,” said Facebook’s director of product management Peter Martinazzi in a blog on Thursday. In April, Facebook had told users that they would need to download a separate app to allow them to send videos, make free calls and chat with friends. But, the tech giant was widely criticised by users that did not like the concept of leaving the Facebook website to another service to send messages.
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