Facebook boasts 800 million Messenger users

Written by on January 7, 2016 in News with 3 Comments
December 16, 2015. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

December 16, 2015. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Facebook Inc’s Messenger app surpassed 800 million users, the company said on Thursday, making it the fastest-growing app of 2015 according to research firm Nielsen.

The means Messenger, which Facebook created as a standalone app in 2014, has more active monthly users than rivals Snapchat and Viber, but still lags the 900 million using WhatsApp, also owned by the company.

WhatsApp was one of the first apps to let people send and receive free text messages on smartphones, bypassing network charges. Messenger users can also exchange messages, but the app also offers free video calling and some business services.

“One of the things we have to work on this year is this perception or mindset that Messenger is only to speak with your Facebook friends,” said Messenger head David Marcus in a phone interview on Wednesday.

Facebook plans to make money from ads on Messenger, but has not said when it will do so. The world’s biggest online social network, which has 1.55 billion users, makes money selling ads that appear on people’s timelines.

Messenger has added features over the past few months, enabling users to sign up without a Facebook account, make payments, video calls and communicate directly with businesses.

It worked with ride-hailing app maker Uber Technologies Inc in December so users could request a ride through Messenger.

Facebook has also begun testing a digital assistant, called M, that operates through Messenger and can make restaurant reservations and airline bookings and other tasks. The service is available to only 10,000 people in the San Francisco Bay area, but Marcus said he hopes to offer it to more users later this year.

(Reporting by Yasmeen Abutaleb; Editing by Stephen R. Trousdale and Bill Rigby)

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  1. Bob says:

    If Facebook is concerned about “the perception or mindset that Messenger is only to speak with your Facebook friends” (which I’m sure is pretty common), why doesn’t it just focus on WhatsApp and over time integrate that with Facebook? One outcome of the strategy it’s currently pursuing, if successful, will surely be to cannibalise the WhatsApp user base – hard to see what benefit there is in that.

  2. Alex Leslie says:

    There is a train of thought that says that Messenger is being developed to be the channel through which you control everything. Uber is a start, but – so the theory goes – with 1.5 billion users Facebook is potentially the largest payments platform of them all. They need to do something – the advertising walls are about to come crashing down – but I am not convinced they will succeed with their plans for Messenger. But then, I am old….

  3. Bob says:

    and wise, Father Time… Happy New Year to all of you at Disruptive Views.

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