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WhatsApp says it now has half a billion regular users

WASHINGTON--WhatsApp now has 500 million regular users around the world, the free mobile messaging service being acquired by Facebook said.

That is up from an estimated 450 million as of late February, as the service's reach expanded rapidly in countries including Brazil, India, Mexico and Russia.

WhatsApp said Tuesday on its blog that its users are also sharing more than 700 million photos and 100 million videos a day.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced in February that his social network is acquiring WhatsApp for US$19 billion.

The stock and cash purchase marries WhatsApp's steadily growing user base with Facebook's 1.2 billion active users.

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