Facebook: A Company Reinvented for the Messaging Era
With a mix of foresight and irony, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has done more than most to close the era of social networking and usher in one of social messaging. In 2014, he placed two massive bets on messaging: a $22-billion purchase of the world's leading chat app, WhatsApp, and a new requirement that Facebook users download a standalone Messenger app to converse with friends.
By September 2015, WhatsApp and Messenger had 1.6 billion active, monthly accounts combined—outpacing Facebook's 1.49 billion active, monthly accounts. The company also launched an open API for Messenger, encouraging developers and publishers to build custom apps for the ecosystem. It simultaneously began beta testing Businesses on Messenger, a tool facilitating e-commerce and customer support. In August 2015, Instagram, another of Facebook's acquisitions, launched enhanced one-to-one messaging—encouraging users to share photos and videos from the news feed within private chats.