Facebook Messenger has finally caught up with another Facebook-owned messaging tool, WhatsApp, having secured its billionth active user this month. Growth has been steady, too, with 100 million coming on board in the last three months alone and another 100 million the quarter before that.
This is a big milestone for Facebook, which faced a lot of criticism when it announced that the Messenger app would be spun off from the main Facebook app. Both pieces of mobile software now enjoy more than 1 billion active users each, though there is understandably a lot of cross over between the two.
It’s also part of Facebook’s big push for diversification. Since launching Messenger as its own application, Facebook has also branched out into shopping, customer service, and games, as well as AI chatbot assistants — with mixed success.
Facebook is positioning itself to become a singular destination for many web users. Through the combination of its messaging application and the main Facebook app, it hopes to incorporate just about every service the average user requires when using the internet.
That doesn’t mean it isn’t willing to hedge its bets. Facebook did pay out close to $20 billion for WhatsApp in 2014 (thanks, Recode) and is continuing to develop that service into a strong competitor for Messenger. Indeed, WhatsApp still has the higher user count, though not by much considering Messenger’s recent impressive growth.
Considering that Facebook’s messaging app has now reached relative parity with its general Facebook app, it will be interesting to see whether either app grows significantly in the near future, or if Messenger’s explosive growth will now taper off as it reaches a saturation point among Facebook users.
Of course, there are still many Facebook users out there. The main Facebook website is closing in on 2 billion users, so perhaps CEO Mark Zuckerberg can whip up some magic to get everyone to migrate to the application instead.