Facebook-owned messaging app WhatsApp reiterated its commitment to secure communications, as it revealed its monthly active user numbers surpassed the 2 billion mark.

In a statement, the company highlighted “many significant and special moments that take place over WhatsApp” adding it was “humbled and honoured to reach this milestone”.

But the company emphasised protecting conversations on the platform, a key selling point from the off, was “more important than ever”.

It reiterated its approach to use default end-to-end encryption in messages, a move which was met with mixed feelings by some government officials and thought to be among the reasons why co-founder Jan Koum stepped down as CEO in May 2018.

WhatsApp described strong encryption as a “necessity in modern life”, emphasising messages on its platform are only kept on the user’s phone and “no one inbetween can read your messages or listen to your calls, not even us”.

“Privacy and security is in our DNA, which is why we have end-to-end encryption,” it added, explaining this means “messages, photos, videos, voice messages, documents, status updates and calls are secured from falling into the wrong hands”.

WhatsApp was founded by Jan Koum and Brian Acton in the beginning of 2009. It was acquired by Facebook for $19 billion in February 2014, when the app had nearly half a billion monthly active users.

In February 2016, Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the app has reached a base of one billion monthly active users globally. The service hit 1.5 billion monthly active users in January 2018.

Data from analyst company App Annie showed WhatsApp was the top-performing app in terms of monthly active users in 2019, followed by Facebook’s core social media app, Messenger, Tencent’s WeChat and Instagram.