David Marcus, who leads the Messenger operation at Facebook, addressing a conference in San Francisco.
Jim Wilson/The New York Times
MENLO PARK, Calif. — Two years ago, Messenger, a photo and text messaging service, appeared to be almost an afterthought at Facebook, the social networking giant.Messenger often took a back seat to the limelight enjoyed by WhatsApp, the messaging app that Facebook had bought for $19 billion. And Messenger’s capabilities were so limited that you could not send friends an animated GIF of a dancing Shiba Inu, as you could with many other messaging services.But since mid-2014, Facebook has been playing a furious game of catch-up with Messenger. That June, Facebook’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, hired a PayPal executive, David Marcus, to take over Messenger and build it into a world-class competitor. The company has added a string of features to the service, including letting
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