Facebook plans to remove the chat features from its main mobile app and force users to install Messenger on their iOS and Android phones in order to keep chatting with their friends. TechCrunch reports the company has already started notifying users in Europe about the change, which is coming whether they want it or not.
Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg told the publication back in November that the company actually planned to remove Messenger features from its main app, so the move doesn’t exactly come as a surprise, especially considering Facebook’s intentions of launching more mobile apps capable to deal with particular tasks.
“[T]he other thing that we’re doing with Messenger is making it so once you have the standalone Messenger app, we are actually taking messaging out of the main Facebook app,” Zuckerberg said. “And 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.”
Even though users may not appreciate having to move back and forth between various Facebook apps, they won’t actually have a choice. Alternatives to using the messenger feature inside Facebook on a mobile device exist, although they’re not necessarily better options.
Of note, users who have older Android devices will likely get to keep the messaging feature.
In addition to Messenger, Facebook already owns one very popular cross-platform messaging app WhatsApp, which it recently acquired in a $19 billion deal.