Facebook's WhatsApp tallies 700M monthly active users

One of the world's most popular mobile messaging services continues growth three months after Facebook acquisition.

WhatsApp, one of the the world's most popular messaging services, is still rising in popularity.

The company, whose app is used by people around the world to send texts without paying carrier fees, said 700 million people now use its app each month, up from 600 million in August. Users are sending 30 billion messages per day, WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum wrote in a Facebook post.

That makes it one of the world's largest social networks -- bigger than Twitter's 284 million or even its corporate cousin, the photo-sharing service Instagram, which tallied 300 million users last month. Facebook itself, however, is still bigger, topping 1.3 billion users signing in each month.

"We're grateful that so many of you are using WhatsApp to stay in touch with your friends and family, business colleagues and classmates," Koum wrote.

The latest data could help Facebook tamp down investors' fears about its acquisition strategy, despite the $19 billion purchase price, one of the largest deals in Silicon Valley history.

A WhatsApp spokesman declined to say how many users are paying customers, or whether its growth has met Facebook's expectations.

Facebook has begun to feel pressure from investors struggling to accept Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's view that his growing list of acquired businesses and services won't become meaningful until they hit 1 billion users. "Over a five-year time frame," Zuckerberg said last year, "we have a number of services which we think are well on their way to reaching 1 billion people: WhatsApp, Instagram and search are a number of them. And once we get to that scale, then we think that they will start to become meaningful businesses in their own right."

Facebook told WhatsApp to keep costs in line and to run as close to break-even as possible while it closes in on the 1 billion user milestone. That line was similar to what it told some of its other acquired companies.

In his post, WhatsApp's Koum vowed to continue improving the app. Late last year, WhatsApp added encryption for messages sent between its millions of Android users. That feature scrambles data to prevent messages from being hacked or monitored.

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