Facebook Messenger has been downloaded half a billion times

Back in April, Facebook announced that users would soon be forced to download the standalone Messenger app if they wanted to send private messages on the go.

Facebook’s logic is that people are using the messaging functionality multiple times per day and it was beneficial to streamline the experience with a dedicated application.

However, the switch to get everyone using the app wasn’t exactly smooth, and many users resented the fact that they weren’t given a choice. Facebook simply eliminated the ability to message from its mobile application and prompted people to download the Messenger app every time they tried to access the messages tab on Facebook mobile.

Regardless of ruffled feathers, Facebook was successful in its goal to get as many users as possible to download Messenger. The social network today announced that 500 million people are using Messenger every day.

For reference, as of January of this year, Facebook had more than 1.2 billion active users and more than 900 million of them were mobile users. So it hasn’t managed to get all of its mobile users to download Messenger just yet.

What we don’t know is how downloads looked before Facebook started forcing Messenger on its users. After all, Messenger has been available for three years as a standalone app. It’d be interesting to know how many of Messenger’s 500 million users are only using the app because they have to.