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Facebook’s decision earlier this year to force mobile users to adopt its standalone Messenger app to send messages is apparently working out. The company announced in a blog post Monday that more than 500 million people are now using Messenger each month. Messenger was launched in 2011. Last spring, Facebook announced it would remove messaging capabilities from the standard Facebook mobile app and require all users to download the standalone Messenger app if they wanted to continue to send and receive messages on their mobile devices. Some users complained about being forced to to download an app with nebulous privacy implications. Apparently, many decided to download it anyway.
“This is an exciting milestone but with a half billion people relying on Messenger to communicate and connect, it is also a reminder that there is so much left for us to do,” Peter Martinazzi, Facebook director of product management, wrote in the blog post. That includes catching up to WhatsApp, which Facebook bought earlier this year for roughly $22 billion. WhatsApp recently reported reaching 600 million users.