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Facebook‘s dedicated instant messaging application for iOS, Android and Windows Phone, Facebook Messenger, is now used by more than 500 million people around the world each month, said the social networking giant Monday.

That’s a massive number, but still half of what Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said constitutes a platform in the truest sense.

By comparison, WhatsApp, which Facebook acquired in February 2014 for $19 billion, currently has more than 600 million active users. Instagram, another Facebook property, counts more than 200 million users.

“Today more than 500 million people are using Messenger each month and we’re more committed than ever to make it the best possible messaging experience,” says Facebook’s media release.

Cynics could point out that Messenger wouldn’t have reached half a billion users so quickly had it not been for the fact that the firm’s been shoving it down users’ throat by starting to remove messaging functionality from the main Facebook client at the end of June.

Paper, another Facebook app, has messaging built-in.

The social networking giant launched a standalone Messenger mobile app back in 2011, filing as their first standalone app aside from the main mobile client.

Messenger combines instant messaging, stickers, videos, taking selfies, chatting with groups and making free calls.

According to CEO Mark Zuckerberg, messaging was stripped away from the mobile client to reduce the friction associated with having to tap a few times just to check new messages.

“The primary purpose of the Facebook app is News Feed,” he said.

On the other hand, messaging was “this behavior people were doing more and more,” Zuck said, adding that ”having to go into an app and take a bunch of steps to get to messaging is a lot of friction.”

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[Facebook]