Facebook Messenger reached a major milestone: it now has 1 billion monthly users.

The company announced the news in a blog post on Wednesday, thanking its users for helping it get to this point as it joins the billion-user club alongside its parent app Facebook and the Facebook-owned WhatsApp.

With that many users active on Facebook Messenger each month, there are about 17 billion photos, 380 million stickers sent each month, as well as 22 million GIFs sent every day, the equivalent of 254 per second. Facebook also revealed its users have played 1.2 billion games of Basketball and 250 million games of Soccer.

This means that users are not only chatting with friends on the app, but they are enjoying the other features Messenger offers, which provide further ways they can engage with friends or kill time while already in the app.

It might seem obvious that Facebook Messenger would have so many users, especially since it doubled its user base in just 20 months. Then again, it is reaching this milestone five years after launching.

When it did launch back in the March 2011, there wasn't a dire need to download it unless a user wanted to.

By 2012 and 2013, users no longer needed to first have a Facebook account to start using Messenger. Instead, users could contact others via phone numbers. Now more a solid standalone messaging app, Messenger began launching other features to make it more appealing in a growing market of similar apps, such as VoIP audio calling and timestamps showing when messages were read.

As it continued to slowly grow, Facebook then made a smart move to guarantee more users: it made Messenger a requirement.

Users can recall that the main Facebook app previously included the messaging feature directly in its main app. Then, in 2014, users were forced to download yet another Facebook app if they want to see and respond to messages when mobile.

At first, many Facebook users didn't like this idea but really had no choice. Facebook then began enticing users by rolling out even more features like photo, video, GIF and sticker support, the ability to send and receive money and even in-app mobile games — not to mention the new wave of bots added to the platform as of late.

It was around this time that messaging apps became the next biggest thing. People became all about encrypted messaging and having a modern version of AIM at their fingertips.

Facebook Messenger (besides WhatsApp) has somehow become one of the most popular messaging apps, with more users than Line (218 million) and WeChat (762 million in China). That means if people aren't sending standard SMS text messages, they are chatting in the app.

Facebook is expected to roll out end-to-end encryption in the future to further appeal to its users. The feature is currently in a test phase among select users.

Source: Facebook 

Photo: iphonedigital | Flickr

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