Facebook’s WhatsApp hits 1B users

Facebook-owned WhatsApp now has a billion users, the company announced on Monday, a key milestone for the social network as it searches for ways to monetize the service.

This means WhatsApp has racked up around 100 million users since September 2015 when it last gave an update, putting it above Facebook Messenger's monthly active user number of 800 million.

Facebook acquired WhatsApp in 2014 for around $22 billion and the user number has more than doubled since the takeover.

The U.S. social networking giant is now turning its attention to generating some revenue from WhatsApp. It scrapped the $0.99 fee last month after the approach hadn't "worked well" as many of the service's users don't have a debit or credit card, according to a WhatsApp blog post from January 18.

"WhatsApp began as a simple idea: ensuring that anyone could stay in touch with family and friends anywhere on the planet, without costs or gimmicks standing in the way," the messaging app said in a separate blog post on Monday.

In order to boost revenues, WhatsApp said last month that it was testing tools that will allow users to use the service to communicate with businesses and organizations.

"That could mean communicating with your bank about whether a recent transaction was fraudulent, or with an airline about a delayed flight," WhatsApp said in a blog post.

On Monday, Google also said that its Gmail email service had over one billion monthly active users.