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June 3, 2016updated 22 Sep 2016 12:11pm

Facebook apps

Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram...what are they used for?

By Alexander Sword

Facebook offers a range of different mobile apps which fulfil slightly different functions.

For users familiar with the web version of Facebook and looking to import the same experience onto their smartphone, the main Facebook app for iOS and Android provides largely the same experience.

This includes notifications and access to the newsfeed and home page.

Since the app is relatively large in terms of the storage space it takes up, there is also a Facebook Lite app with reduced features, which might be popular for owners of smaller devices.

While it is possible to exchange Facebook messages through the main Facebook app, for a more advanced experience it is worth downloading the dedicated app, simply called Messenger.

This offers a more streamlined experience, with a direct link to your smartphone’s camera and microphone so that you can carry out calls over an internet connection using the app or share photos directly into chats.


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It allows group chats and video calls.

As of April 2016, Messenger has 900 million users.

WhatsApp is another app that was built independently but acquired by Facebook. It is a chat app fulfilling broadly the same functions as Facebook Messenger, allowing group chats where photos, audio recordings and media can be accessed, as well as video and voice calls.

WhatsApp has less added extras, while Messenger offers the ability to share gifs or videos directly from other sites.

As of February, WhatsApp has over 1 billion monthly active users.

Instagram is another app owned by Facebook which, as of September 2015, had 400 million monthly active users. Instagram is essentially a social network for images, allowing users to share photos and videos to followers.

For those who don’t want to download specific apps for these services, there are also web-based versions that are also accessible on mobile. For example, the Facebook site can be accessed directly though a mobile browser, giving access to Messenger as well.


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