Facebook announced this week that it will begin phasing out messaging through its main mobile app, and will require users to download the standalone Messenger app instead.
“Our goal is to focus development efforts on making Messenger the best mobile messaging experience possible and avoid the confusion of having separate Facebook mobile messaging experiences,” Facebook told CNET.
Facebook already forced European users to download the Messenger app in April, and reportedly saw users respond 20% faster than they did in Facebook’s main app. When the changeover is final, users who attempt to send a message in Facebook’s main mobile app will receive a message that prompts them to download Messenger instead. However, users will still be able to see if they’ve received messages from the site’s main app.
Messenger is a hugely important part of Facebook’s future business plans; the app already has more than 200 million monthly active users, and it’s capable of facilitating group chats, voice calls and photo/video exchanges. However, even though the standalone Messenger app will likely offer faster and more responsive service than the basic Facebook app, some users could be troubled by the mandatory nature of the download. As convenient and well intentioned as it may be, no one likes Facebook telling them that they have to download something.