It looks like Mark Zuckerberg is trying to get us all to download yet another app that isn’t Facebook.
According to TechCrunch, Facebook has started notifying some mobile users in Europe that the app will no longer include the messaging feature. You will have to download the separate Facebook Messenger app instead.
Up until now, users could access the messaging feature directly in the main app, similar to the desktop site. For some time now, Facebook had been subtly advising app users to download the standalone messenger app for a better experience. But soon, it seem like users will no longer be able to send or receive messages within the main Facebook app. The change is slowly being rolled out on both iPhone and Android.
The users that have already been notified will have about two weeks before messaging disappears from the main app. Eventually, all users will see the change and be forced to download Facebook Messenger if they want to continue messaging via an app.
In a November talk with TechCrunch’s Josh Constine, Zuckerberg explained the new change:
“The reason why we’re doing that is we found that having it as a second-class thing inside the Facebook app makes it so there’s more friction to replying to messages, so we would rather have people be using a more focused experience for that.”
Yes, the messaging experience may be smoother in the new standalone app, but the fact remains that only a certain number of apps fit on our phone’s homescreen, and many of us may not be so excited about being forced to download another app. Maybe Facebook is responding to the struggles it had with other standalone apps its tried to promote. But feedback is sure to be split on this decision.