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Social networking giant Facebook said its new messaging service now has more than 500 million users worldwide probably also as a consequence of the fact that users of the separate Messenger app have more than doubled from 200 million in April. However Facebook Messenger is still behind the WhatsApp app, which has 600 million monthly active users.
This is definitely a side effect of the fact that users who wanted to continue using the social network’s instant message platform were required to download the new app, causing some outcry among people who were previously accustomed to sending messages through the standard Facebook app. Facebook, which has a little more than 1 billion users worldwide, announced at the end of July that it was beginning the final phaseout of mobile messaging within its main app. The company rolled out the Messenger-only app in Europe in April, but has since rolled it out globally.
Having no choice, after the initial outcry against the decision, people have made peace with the social giant’s decision, starting to adopt the app and using it for messaging on the go. “We’ve also continued to improve speed and reliability. Updates to Messenger ship every two weeks so it continues to evolve and improve,” Facebook’s director of product management Peter Martinazzi added, showing that Facebook plans to stick with the app despite the negative feedback.
While Facebook’s milestone announcement suggests that the storm has passed and that unhappy users have embraced the new app, the move is still commanding some users’ attention. During a question-and-answer session Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg hosted last week, one questioner in Ethiopia asked why Facebook began requiring mobile users to download a separate app to send private messages. “We realize asking everyone in the community to install a new app is a big ask,” he admitted, saying the move was driven by the popularity of apps created for specific purposes. “These apps are fast and just focused on messaging.”
The app’s explosion in popularity comes amid a sector crowded with many competitors, such Apple’s iMessage, Samsung’s ChatOn and Facebook’s own WhatsApp. Facebook thought it could provide a better, faster messaging product by separating it, was CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s explanation. Not everyone sees the logic in that. “Separated app just for messages? Are you serious?” wrote one Facebook user in an online discussion thread this past weekend, who said that switching between two apps all the time to send messages and see people’s profiles was not “comfortable.”