If you want a statistic on the tremendous reach and widening scope of Facebook Messenger, here’s a fairly impressive one: the chat app logged a total of 17 billion video calls in 2017. That’s double the number from the year prior. Facebook launched group video chat in Messenger last December, further positioning the app as a direct alternative to Skype and WhatsApp (which Facebook owns).
Microsoft doesn’t release year-end totals for Skype, nor does Apple share that type of data for the FaceTime video chat service directly integrated with iOS and macOS. So it’s not easy to contextualize, but doubling anything year over year isn’t a bad achievement. Personally, I’ve only used Messenger’s video chat by accident; few smartphone fumbles are as embarrassing as unintentionally calling someone in Messenger. Even if you hang up immediately, your error is still logged in the conversation. But clearly there are plenty of people using it to reach friends, family, and colleagues.
Other Messenger stats as 2017 wraps up:
Users sent over 500 billion emoji and 18 billion GIFs.
Over 7 billion were happening (on average) every day of the year.
The average group chat includes 10 people.
But maybe the most important Messenger-related event in 2017 was the expanded release of Messenger Lite for Android, which resembles the streamlined, chat-focused app of old without all the bloat and cruft that some people never bother using in the current incarnation. It doesn’t do video chat, though; you’ll have to settle for voice calls.