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WhatsApp has joined a growing club of services that can now count having more than 1 billion monthly active users (that means 1 in 7 people in the world use it), Jan Koum, the head of the Facebook-owned company, posted on the popular social network of the achievement. It comes just less than five months after it was revealed that WhatsApp had 900 million monthly active users.

To mark this occasion, Koum also shared that the service has seen 42 billion messages sent through it daily, 1.6 billion photos shared, 1 billion groups organized through it, and 250 million videos shared.


By hitting this milestone, WhatsApp joins a growing number of apps that Facebook owns with such an enormous reach. The company’s core app is already being used by more than 1.5 billion people monthly, and it’s likely that Facebook Messenger will soon be joining the two other services in the billion-user club — will Instagram and even Oculus be far behind?

WhatsApp really hit it big time when Facebook purchased the messaging app in 2014 for more than $16 billion. At the time, it only had 450 million monthly active users, but under the leadership of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, that number has more than doubled.

Today’s announcement comes days after Facebook announced its Q4 FY2015 earnings, as well as dropping its $1 annual subscription fee. In the latter, WhatsApp decided to monetize its service by charging businesses instead. Koum described the $1 fee as being something that “really doesn’t work for some people.” The company doesn’t have a firm plan yet on how to monetize the service, but it will likely be around customer support, which is very similar to what Facebook has planned for its Messenger service.

On its Q4 2015 earnings call last week, Zuckerberg said about WhatsApp’s latest moves:

We think this is an important step towards creating and even more ubiquitous product without affecting our plans for building WhatsApp into important business in the coming years. Later this year, we’ll be testing new ways for people to use WhatsApp to communicate with businesses and organizations that they want to hear from.

While the 1 billion monthly active users number is impressive, the other statistics aren’t something to brush aside. Specifically, the fact that 1.6 billion photos are shared daily on the messaging service is noteworthy, especially when you consider that on average people are uploading and sharing 1.8 billion photos daily, according to the latest report from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers partner Mary Meeker. It’s also reported that Snapchat users send 8,796 photos per second, so if accurate that could equate to at least 759 million photos posted daily on the ephemeral app.

Now that the service is free for consumers to interact with one another, will the service grow faster, meaning that in the next couple months we’ll be talking about it surpassing 1.5 billion monthly active users? When exactly will it overtake its parent company in terms of usage?

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