Facebook has made a major change to one of its most popular features. Now users of the Facebook app on mobile devices will need to download an additional app in order to be able to message friends.
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The world’s largest social networking service is moving messaging features from its main app over to its Messenger texting app which has been available since 2011. The company will provide its users with a link to where they can download the Messenger app and will soon place a notification under a user’s messages pane reminding people to make the switch.
All of a user’s contacts will automatically be included in this app when it is loaded. Without it, users will need to go to the Facebook website to see and send messages.
The move is probably due to competition from other apps such as WhatsApp.
But Facebook maintains that it is making the change due to research which shows that its users respond faster to messages through the Messenger app than through its main one. Also, people are more likely to send pictures and videos with a dedicated messaging app.
Some, however, see an ulterior motive at work. Critics say that having the extra app will make it more likely that Facebook users will leave it on at all times. As a result, Facebook will be able to gather even more information about its users for marketing purposes.
Many Facebook users have already received an e mail from the company telling them about the switch and that “a free app that’s faster and more reliable for everyday messaging, ” should be downloaded.
The Facebook app itself has a message for users with some sort of cartoon animal which states, “Hi (User) we’re moving messages. Soon they’ll be in our other app Messenger. You’ll be able to do more like take selfies and videos right in the app.”
Other notifications tell users that their messages are being moved to the other app “because it’s faster and more reliable.”
Facebook Messenger also allows users to see if people have read their messages, get notifications on their mobile device as soon as a message arrives and quickly switch between multiple conversations with in-app notifications.