The world’s most widely used messaging app has a significant chunk of the planet’s population using it, with the Facebook-owned company announcing on 12 February that it had hit a milestone of 2 billion active users on the platform.

WhatsApp is now has 500 million more active users than its nearest messaging competitor, Messenger, which is also owned by Facebook. The announcement means that Facebook’s family of apps, which includes the Facebook core app, Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp, is now used by approximately 2.26 billion people worldwide – to put those numbers into perspective, it means that almost 30% of the global population interact in a Facebook app of some kind every day.

In its announcement of the latest user figures, WhatsApp reiterated its focus on the privacy of its users, despite continued pressure from the US government to create ways in which law enforcement can bypass the stringent encryption measures WhatsApp currently uses.

In a statement, the company again stressed that the privacy of the apps users is of the essence, and that end-to-end encryption of messages is here to stay.

“Strong encryption is a necessity in modern life. We will not compromise on security because that would make people less safe. For even more protection, we work with top security experts, employ industry-leading technology to stop misuse as well as provide controls and ways to report issues – without sacrificing privacy,” the statement read.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, the head of WhatsApp, Will Cathcart, also focused on the issue, saying, “For all of human history, people have been able to communicate privately with each other… And we don’t think that should go away in a modern society.”

At the beginning of last year, the CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, announced plans to merge WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram’s messaging service, with end-to-end encryption being one of the most important aspects of the amalgamation.

“People really like this in WhatsApp. I think it’s the – it’s the direction that we should be going in with more things in the future. I think there’s an opportunity to use the work that we have done with WhatsApp there rather than doing it in different ways in the different messaging experiences,” Zuckerberg told an audience in Brussels.

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