WhatsApp touts 800M monthly active users

The Facebook-owned messaging service retains its position as one of the largest platforms around, according to numbers from WhatsApp.

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Associate Editor Nate Ralph is an aspiring wordsmith, covering mobile software and hardware for CNET Reviews. His hobbies include dismantling gadgets, waxing poetic about obscure ASCII games, and wandering through airports.
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Messaging service WhatsApp continues to grow its huge user base. WhatsApp

WhatsApp is one of the world's most popular messaging platforms, and it's showing no signs of slowing. In a Facebook post Friday, WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum announced that the Facebook-owned service now has 800 million active users every month. That's a lot of chatter.

WhatsApp Messenger lets you send text messages to other users of the app for free. The app sends messages over the Internet, bypassing a phone carrier's text messaging charges. The app is available on just about every mobile platform, including iOS, Android, Windows Phone and BlackBerry devices. WhatsApp has also rolled out a voice calling feature, firing a shot across the bow of services like Skype and Viber.

The service was acquired by Facebook for a staggering $19 billion in a deal that closed back in October, and it's seen consistent growth over the last few months: this 800 million user milestone is up from 700 million in January and 600 million last August.

These numbers make WhatsApp one of the largest social services around. In February, Twitter reported a user base of 288 million active users a month. In December, photo-sharing service Instagram reported 300 million monthly users. Facebook -- which owns Instagram as well as WhatsApp -- reported an average of 1.39 billion monthly active users as of December.