Facebook Messenger — the standalone app where Facebook users check messages — has hit 500 million monthly active users, the company announced Monday.
The controversial app, which was attacked for confusingly-worded and scary-sounding permissions, launched in 2011 and has grown considerably. Nearly half of Facebook’s 1.35 billion users now have the Messenger app on their phone.
Facebook’s Peter Martinazzi, Director of Product Management, wrote a Newsroom post about Messenger’s newest milestone:
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.
Messenger was the first of our standalone apps, and unlike our core Facebook apps, it focused on one use case – messaging. With Messenger, you can reach people instantly. It is just as fast as SMS but gives you the ability to express yourself in ways that SMS can’t. You can send stickers or videos, take selfies, chat with groups and make free calls. We’ve also continued to improve speed and reliability. Updates to Messenger ship every two weeks so it continues to evolve and improve.
It’s a Facebook tradition to have weekly all-hands meetings where employees can ask CEO Mark Zuckerberg about anything.
Now you can do the same.
Zuckerberg is hosting a live Q&A session with Facebook users on Thursday, Nov. 6 at 2 p.m. PST. He posted about the event on his timeline:
We have a tradition at Facebook, where every Friday we have a Q&A and all employees can come and ask me questions about anything they want.
It’s an important part of Facebook’s culture. People ask thoughtful questions about why our company is going in certain directions, what I think about things happening in the world, and how we can continue improving our services for everyone. I learn a lot from these Q&As, and the questions people ask help us build better services.
Now I want to extend this tradition to our whole community.
Facebook Co-Founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan are known for their generosity, regularly donating money to charities.
Zuckerberg announced today another major donation, as he and Chan gave $25 million to the Centers for Disease Control to help fight the Ebola virus outbreak.
Zuckerberg posted on his timeline Tuesday morning about the donation:
The Ebola epidemic is at a critical turning point. It has infected 8,400 people so far, but it is spreading very quickly and projections suggest it could infect 1 million people or more over the next several months if not addressed.
We need to get Ebola under control in the near term so that it doesn’t spread further and become a long term global health crisis that we end up fighting for decades at large scale, like HIV or polio.
On Wednesday, Facebook’s f8 — a developer’s haven — will return to San Francisco after a three-year absence, this time powered by Parse.
In the past, Facebook has used this conference to announce features such as the Open Graph, Facebook Connect (now Facebook Login) and Timeline. Facebook notes that this year’s f8 will be different (though reports show that Facebook will announce a mobile ad network Wednesday), with a strong focus on the developer community.
A Facebook spokesperson discussed this year’s conference with Inside Facebook:
We’re getting back to our roots and reinventing f8 as a conference purely for developers to learn how to use Facebook and Parse to build, grow, and monetize their apps.
Let’s take a look back at Facebook has launched or announced at past events.
Facebook may have failed in its bid to acquire popular messaging app Snapchat, but the social network announced Wednesday that it has closed a deal to buy WhatsApp for roughly $16 billion.
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO, posted to his Facebook page how WhatsApp will work with Facebook:
WhatsApp will continue to operate independently within Facebook. The product roadmap will remain unchanged and the team is going to stay in Mountain View. Over the next few years, we’re going to work hard to help WhatsApp grow and connect the whole world. We also expect that WhatsApp will add to our efforts forInternet.org, our partnership to make basic internet services affordable for everyone.
WhatsApp will complement our existing chat and messaging services to provide new tools for our community. Facebook Messenger is widely used for chatting with your Facebook friends, and WhatsApp for communicating with all of your contacts and small groups of people. Since WhatsApp and Messenger serve such different and important uses, we will continue investing in both and making them each great products for everyone.
WhatsApp had every option in the world, so I’m thrilled that they chose to work with us. I’m looking forward to what Facebook and WhatsApp can do together, and to developing great new mobile services that give people even more options for connecting.
WhatsApp’s brand will be maintained (and ad free, according to the company) and CEO Jan Koum will join Facebook’s board of directors.
On Tuesday, Facebook will celebrate a decade of social networking. The company’s Co-Founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, has recently opened up in candid interviews with NBC’s Today Show and Bloomberg Businessweek about the future of Facebook.
As Facebook matures into the double digits, it appears that Zuckerberg’s beliefs are changing. For instance, the new standalone apps (such as Paper) Facebook is developing may not require users to use their real name.
Facebook announced a proposed follow-on stock offering Thursday, noting that 70 million shares of Facebook stock will hit the market, most of which will come from CEO and Co-Founder Mark Zuckerberg.
Recently, Facebook CEO and Co-Founder Mark Zuckerberg took the stage at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco for a wide-ranging interview with TechCrunch Founder Michael Arrington. Zuckerberg discussed plans for Internet.org as well as learning Mandarin Chinese, and made another push for Facebook Home.
Monday night, Facebook Co-Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted the above photo to his timeline, showing a map of Facebook friend connections around the world. One commenter pointed out that China looks quite dark.
That may change soon. According to the South China Morning Post, Beijing is lifting the Internet firewall that has prevented residents from legally accessing Facebook and Twitter — but only within the free-trade zone of Shanghai. This decision will also allow residents to view the website of The New York Times.
Previously, such websites were deemed too politically sensitive and have been banned since 2009, but now it appears that Facebook has a foothold into China — and its 1.35 billion residents (roughly 590 million of whom are online). A Facebook representative confirmed to Inside Facebook that the company is aware of this news, but declined to comment further.
Mark Zuckerberg wants to add 5 billion more Facebook friends.
Well, not exactly. But he does want to expand the Internet’s reach to 5 billion more residents of this increasingly interconnected planet earth.
In a white paper titled “A Focus on Efficiency” released this week under the aegis of Internet.org, a consortium of companies who’ve adopted the same aim of expanding online access, the Facebook founder outlines a plan to expand technology reach and the importance of the Internet as a human right, a way to pull away from a zero-sum resource-based economy and plug into its knowledge-based counterpart.