Facebook has made a point of getting more people using Messenger this year, and it sounds like it's finding quite a bit of success. Facebook announced today that it's now seeing over 500 million people on Messenger each month, a figure that's more than double the 200 million monthly users that it detailed back in April.
Facebook forced everyone onto Messenger over the summer
Of course, there's a good reason for that explosion in use. Over the summer, Facebook removed the ability to use Messenger inside of its primary mobile app. Instead, everyone who receives a message within the Facebook app is now prompted to download and move over to Messenger in order to see and reply to messages. It is, without question, an inconvenience. But Facebook says that it's necessary in order to provide a better experience in both messaging and the News Feed — and Messenger is by no means a bad app. In fact, it being hooked into your network of friends makes it pretty useful.
Facebook still has a lot of work to do on Messenger. Even though 500 million is a huge number, it's less than half of the 1.35 billion monthly users that Facebook proper receives. And at the same time, it's still falling short of WhatsApp, which has over 600 million monthly users and doesn't get the benefit of heavy integration and promotion from Facebook. That's not bad news for Facebook (it's ultimately the winner in every case here), but with Messenger serving as its primarily messaging service, there's clearly still huge room for growth.