Zuckerberg wants WhatsApp to be the “global messaging platform”

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has revised his targets for WhatsApp: After previously saying he wanted the messaging app to reach 1 billion users, he’s pushed the number to “2 to 3 billion” during a talk in Mexico City. Last month the company announced that it had reached the 600m active user milestone.

“I think WhatsApp is going to be the global text messaging platform,” Zuckerberg said, as reported by Bloomberg. “I think we’re going to have an opportunity for WhatsApp to connect 2 or 3 billion people.” He didn’t make mention of Facebook Messenger, now a standalone mobile tool detached from the main Facebook app.

Related: Facebook buys WhatsApp for $19 billion — yes, billion

Zuckerberg was speaking at an event in Mexico organized by Carlos Slim, chairman of telecommunications firm America Movil SAB, and he also mentioned Facebook’s Internet.org initiative, which aims to get more of the world connected. “We feel a big responsibility to bring the Internet to more people, even if Facebook has to spend billions of dollars,” he said.

The short history of WhatsApp, launched in 2009, is testament to the new, mobile-first face of social networking in the smartphone age. Established players like Facebook are vulnerable to small, quick-growing mobile apps, which is why Zuckerberg and his team have been so keen to buy up any competing services when they begin to gain momentum (see also Instagram). WhatsApp faces competition from the likes of Viber, Line and Skype, as well as Apple’s iMessage and Google’s Hangouts, but it seems that the Facebook CEO is confident of his own product’s success.

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