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Everyone thinks of Facebook as a social media behemoth, but they're actually much more dominant in messaging and ready to start making money on it. The company announced last week ads on Facebook Messenger globally. Reports are also out that Facebook is hiring talent to "lead product development on our monetization efforts" for WhatsApp, a messaging app popular in Europe that Facebook bought in 2014 for $19 billion.

Why it matters: People use messaging apps more than social media apps and Facebook owns an overwhelming majority of that market. (Facebook-owned WhatsApp is the number one messaging app in 107 countries around the world, and Facebook's Messenger is number one in 58 countries, according to a SimilarWeb study.)

Expand chart

Data: eMarketer, Line, Tencent, pymnts.com; Chart: Lazaro Gamio / Axios

Facebook is reportedly building a standalone app that "incorporates ideas" from Houseparty, the video chatting app that's a huge hit amongst Gen Z, and they've been able to curb Snapchat's user growth by adopting Snapchat-like features on Facebook and Instagram.

U.S. competition: Last week it was reported that Amazon is also working on stand-alone messaging app called Anytime, that would rival Facebook's Messenger via a connected desktop and mobile experience.

Global competition: Chinese tech Giant Tencent has an effective monopoly over the Chinese messaging market via its popular app, WeChat and it looks like it's going to stay that way. Last week China blocked most WhatsApp services, like photo, video and voice messages, within the country.

Go Deeper: The Washington Post's Head of Commercial Product and Technology Jarrod Dicker writes for Medium: How We Should Be Thinking About Advertising In Bot and Messenger Apps

Go deeper

Updated 4 hours ago - World

Biden in call with Netanyahu raises concerns about civilian casualties in Gaza

Photo: Ahmad Gharabli/Nicholas Kamm/Getty Images

President Biden spoke to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Saturday and raised concerns about civilian casualties in Gaza and the bombing of the building that housed AP and other media offices, according to Israeli officials.

The big picture: At least 140 Palestinians, including dozens of children, have been killed in Gaza since fighting between Israel and Hamas began Monday, according to Palestinian health officials. Nine people, including two children, have been killed by Hamas rockets in Israel.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

"Horrified": AP, Al Jazeera condemn Israel's bombing of their offices in Gaza

A ball of fire erupts from the Jalaa Tower as it is destroyed in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza. Photo: Majdi Fathi/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The Associated Press and Al Jazeera on Saturday condemned the Israeli airstrike that destroyed a high-rise building in Gaza that housed their and other media offices.

What they're saying: The White House, meanwhile, said it had "communicated directly to the Israelis that ensuring the safety and security of journalists and independent media is a paramount responsibility," according to press secretary Jen Psaki.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
6 hours ago - Health

The COVID lab-leak theory goes mainstream

The Wuhan Institute of Virology. Photo: Hector Retamal/AFP via Getty Images The COVID lab-leak theory goes mainstream

A group of high-profile scientists published a letter calling for renewed investigation into the origins of COVID-19 — including the theory that it spilled out of a virology lab.

Why it matters: The possibility that SARS-CoV-2 was created in a Chinese lab and accidentally escaped — rather than emerging naturally from an animal — was initially dismissed as a conspiracy theory. But the letter shows a potential lab leak is increasingly being taken seriously.