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Facebook Messenger hits 500m active users

Facebook users have, begrudgingly it seems, accepted the requirement to download the company’s standalone Messenger app.

The firm today announced it has now reached half a billion active users after shutting off access to the chat portion of the main app back in August.

The decision prompted a backlash from some more vocal users, as well as sparking a moral panic over privacy worries associated with the Messenger app’s permissions.

The Messenger app was launched initially in 2011, but only made compulsory this summer. It not only offers the opportunity to share text messages with individuals and groups, but also photos, videos, stickers and free calls over Wi-Fi and 3G.

“With Messenger, you can reach people instantly,” the company wrote on its Newsroom blog. “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.

“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.”

The 500m active users gives the firm 1.1bn messaging app users when combined with the 600m WhatsApp users currently active.

Have you held firm against Facebook’s tactics and sacrificed your ability to use chat on your phone? Or have you caved in and become one of the 500m? Share your feelings below.

Read more: Facebook has made it easier to mute your annoying friends

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