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WhatsApp is now delivering roughly 100 billion messages a day

WhatsApp, the popular instant messaging app owned by Facebook, is now delivering roughly 100 billion messages a day, the company’s chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said at the quarterly earnings call Thursday.

For some perspective, users exchanged 100 billion messages on WhatsApp last New Year’s Eve. That is the day when WhatsApp tops its engagement figures, and as many of you may remember, also the time when the service customarily suffered glitches in the past years. (No outage on last New Year’s Eve!)

At this point, WhatsApp is just competing with itself. Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp together were used to exchange 60 billion messages a day as of early 2016. Apple chief executive Tim Cook said in May that iMessage and FaceTime were seeing record usage, but did not share specific figures. The last time Apple did share the figure, it was far behind WhatsApp’s then usage (podcast). WeChat, which has also amassed over 1 billion users, is behind in daily volume of messages, too.

In early 2014, WhatsApp was being used to exchange about 50 billion texts a day, its then chief executive Jan Koum revealed at an event.

At the time, WhatsApp had fewer than 500 million users. WhatsApp now has more than 2 billion users and at least in India, its largest market by users, its popularity surpasses those of every other smartphone app including the big blue app.

“This year we’ve all relied on messaging more than ever to keep up with our loved ones and get business done,” tweeted Will Cathcart, head of WhatsApp.

Sadly, that’s all the update the company shared on WhatsApp today. Mystery continues for when WhatsApp expects to resume its payments service in Brazil, and when it plans to launch its payments in India, where it began testing the service in 2018. (It has already shared big plans around financial services in India, though.)

“We are proud that WhatsApp is able to deliver roughly 100B messages every day and we’re excited about the road ahead,” said Cathcart.

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Twitter DMs now have emoji reactions

Twitter is pouring a little more fuel on the messaging fire. It’s added a heart+ button to its direct messaging interface which lets users shortcut to a pop-up menu of seven emoji reactions so they can quickly express how they’re feeling about a missive.

Emoji reactions can be added to text or media messages — either via the heart+ button or by double tapping on the missive to bring up the reaction menu.

The social network teased the incoming tweak a few hours earlier in a knowing tweet about sliding into DMs that actually revealed the full line-up of reaction emojis — which, in text form, can be described as: Crying lol; shocked/surprised; actually sad; heart; flame; thumb-up and thumb-down.

So instead of a smilie face Twitter users are being nudged towards an on-brand-message Twitter heart, in keeping with its long-standing pick for a pleasure symbol.

The flame is perhaps slightly surprising for a company that’s publicly professed to wanting to improve the conversational health of its platform.

If it’s there to stand in for appreciation a clap emoji could surely have done the trick. Whereas flame wars aren’t typically associated with constructive speech. But — hey — the flame icon does catch the eye…

Twitter is late to this extroverted party. Rival messaging platforms such as Apple iMessage and Facebook Messenger have had emoji reactions for years, whereas Twitter kept things relatively minimal and chat-focused in its DM funnel — to its credit (at least if you value the service as, first and foremost, an information network).

So some might say Twitter jumping on the emoji reaction bandwagon now is further evidence it’s trying to move closer to rivals like Facebook as a product. (See also: Last year’s major desktop product redesign — which has been compared in look and feel to the Facebook News Feed.)

But if so this change is at least a relatively incremental one.

Twitter users have also, of course, always been able to react to an incoming DM by sending whatever emoji or combination of emoji they prefer as a standard reply. Though now lazy thumbs have a shortcut to emote — so long as they’re down with Twitter’s choice of icons.

In an FAQ about the new DM emoji reactions, Twitter notes that emoting will by default send a notification to all conversation participants “any time a new reaction is added to a message”.

So, yes, there’s attention-spamming potential aplenty here…

Adjust your notification and DM settings accordingly.

You can only choose one reaction per missive. Each symbol is displayed under the message/media with a count next to it — to allow for group tallies to be totted up. 

NB: Clicking on another symbol will swap out the earlier one — generating, er, more notification spam. And really annoying people could keep flipping their reaction to generate a real-time emoji streaming game of notification hell (hi growth hackers!) with folks they’ve been DMing with. So that’s another good reason to lock down your Twitter settings.

Users still running older version of Twitter’s apps which don’t support message reactions will see a standard text emoji message per reaction sent (see examples below). This kinda confusingly makes it look like the reaction sender has actually been liking/flaming their own stuff. So all the more reason to not be spammy about emoji.

Source: TechCrunch