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WhatsApp use has "more than doubled" since the 2014 Facebook aquisition iStock

A massive one billion people are now using WhatsApp, the Facebook-owned instant messaging service. The announcement was heralded by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who said WhatsApp's community has "more than doubled" since the 2014 acquisition.

"There are only a few services that connect more than a billion people. This milestone is an important step towards connecting the entire world," he said, adding that 42 billion messages and 250 million videos are now sent over WhatsApp every day.

"We've added the ability for you to call loved ones far away. We've dropped the subscription fee and made WhatsApp completely free. Next, we're going to work to connect more people around the world and make it easier to communicate with businesses."

WhatsApp, which was purchased by social giant Facebook in 2014 for a whopping £19bn, announced that it was scrapping an annual subscription service in favour of a free-to-use business model in January.

Meanwhile, WhatsApp also announced the latest news on its website. "We are proud of this milestone, and we're humbled by the extraordinary ways all of you have used WhatsApp," the firm said in a blog post. "Every day, our team continues to work to improve WhatsApp's speed, reliability, security and simplicity. We're excited to see how far we've come. But now, it's back to work, because we still have another six billion people to get on WhatsApp and a long way left to go."

Following the announcement,WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum, who founded the service alongside former Yahoo engineer Brian Acton in 2009, said: "One billion users. Couldn't be more proud of our small team doing so much in just seven years."

It was recently revealed that plans are under way to implement tighter integration of the Facebook and WhatsApp platforms, with a new build of WhatsApp rumoured to include a fresh welcome screen and the ability to share information directly with Facebook.

WhatsApp chose to release the statistics just as Alphabet was conducting its Q4 2015 earnings call, in which Google CEO Sundar Pichai revealed its Gmail service now also has over one billion monthly active users.