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Facebook's WhatsApp hits 900 million active monthly users

The messaging app, which has added 100 million new users in the past four months, has experienced 50 percent growth in the past year.

Messaging app WhatsApp keeps growing more popular with users each month.

The Facebook-owned app, which is used by people around the world to send texts without paying carrier fees, now has more than 900 million monthly active users, according to a Facebook post by Jan Koum, the CEO of WhatsApp. The milestone represents an increase of 100 million users since the company announced it had 800 million users in April and a growth rate of 50 percent in the past 12 months.

WhatsApp has experienced consistent growth since it was acquired by Facebook last year for $19 billion -- one of the largest deals in Silicon Valley history. At the beginning of the year, the service had 700 million users, up from the 600 million it counted in August 2014. While the WhatsApp's user numbers still trail parent Facebook's 1.44 billion monthly active users, they are nearly triple that of Twitter, which revealed in July it had 316 million monthly users, a growth rate of just 3 percent from the previous quarter.

WhatApp CEO Jan Koum at the Mobile World Congress in 2014 Stephen Shankland/CNET

"Congrats to Jan, the WhatsApp team and whole community on reaching 900 million people!" Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in follow-up post.

WhatsApp may lag behind ts parent company in overall user numbers, but its user numbers surpass Facebook in the competitive messaging sector. Facebook announced in June that its messaging app had 700 million users.

Founded in 2009, WhatsApp started life as a basic text-messaging app but one that also offered the ability to leave voice messages. The app, which operates on just about every mobile platform, has also rolled out a voice calling feature , firing a shot across the bow of services like Skype and Viber.

Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for information on how many of those users were paying customers.