Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook messenger app has reached another milestone as it hit the 500 million users mark. This is a significant increase in the number of active users from April 2014, when the count was 200 million.

This also has to do in part with the fact that Facebook literally ‘forced’ people to download the app if they wanted to chat. At the end of July 2014, Facebook announced that if people wanted to chat with their Facebook friends from their phones/tabs, they will have to download the standalone Facebook messenger app.

Through the messenger app, users will be able to send videos, stickers, have group chats and make free calls to other users. In their defense, Facebook said that each app had a purpose that they were working to make both applications perform certain functions.

Director of Product Management at Facebook, Peter Martinazzi said, “Messaging is an important part of how people stay connected and since Messenger launched in 2011 we’ve been passionate about giving people a faster and more expressive way to communicate.”

In August, Facebook-acquired Whatsapp announced that it had grown from 500 million users in April 2014 to 600 million in August. Whatsapp and Facebook messenger are not very different. Both applications are used to chat with friends, but Whatsapp does not have the free calling feature.

However, Jan Koum, Whatsapp’s CEO, has said that the video calling feature is in the works and will be available in the first quarter of 2015.

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