Facebook Messenger says it has 1.2B monthly active users

The messaging service now has as many monthly users as WhatsApp and twice as many as Instagram.

More than 1.2 billion people are now actively using Messenger on a monthly basis, Facebook's David Marcus said Wednesday.

That's up from 1 billion monthly users, a milestone the app hit last July. According to Facebook's last earnings report, that's on par with WhatsApp, Facebook's other messaging service. It's about twice as high as Instagram's monthly active user count. Facebook's flagship app has 1.74 billion monthly mobile active users.

While already hugely popular, the use of messaging apps is only expected to grow in the coming years as they become more sophisticated and serve as a general portal to the internet.

For its part, Messenger continues to add services to keep its audience in the app. Most recently Facebook announced it has enhanced Messenger's peer-to-peer payments capabilities, enabling users in the app to send or receive money between groups of people. Earlier this month, it rolled out M, a limited version of its AI assistant that offers help with a handful of specific tasks. And last month, Facebook introduced a new feature that lets Messenger users share their real-time location with another person or a group.

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