Facebook Messenger catches up with WhatsApp as it hits 1 billion users milestone

Facebook Messenger now has a billion users worldwide / Facebook Messenger

Facebook Messenger has joined the one billion users club, catching up with sister company WhatsApp.

The world's largest social network shared the news via a blog post announcing that one billion people each month send messages via its private platform.

To mark the occasion, Facebook is going to send a billion 'thank yous' to Messenger subscribers in the form of floating balloon animations that users can send to their friends within the app "to add a touch of whimsy and delight to any conversation".

"As part of this journey to one billion, we focused on creating the best possible experiences in modern day communications," Facebook Messenger chief David Marcus said in a statement.

"We remain focused on helping connect people to the people and businesses who matter most. Thank you to everyone who uses Messenger around the world, and we're looking forward to connecting the next billion."

As of the first quarter of 2016, Facebook had 1.65 billion monthly active users around the world. Messenger has grown its subscriber count by 200 million since the start of the year, meaning at its current rate of expansion its not far from outpacing the social giant that spawned it.

Last year Facebook opened up Messenger so that anyone in the world could use it regardless of whether they had an account on the social network or not and it looks like the strategy is paying off for the company.

The rapid rise of apps like Messenger has had profound implcations for brands, with Facebook unleashing its Bots on Messenger service earlier this year and unveiling earlier this month that over 11,000 chatbots have been built developers.

Facebook unloaded some stats about Messenger to celebrate hitting the one billion mark, revealing that 22 million GIFs are sent each day between users and that people have sent 300 million Valentines on the service.

Get The Drum Newsletter

Build your marketing knowledge by choosing from daily news bulletins or a weekly special.