Are you a frequent user of the Facebook chat feature? Well according to The Verge it looks like the social media giant will soon be disabling its chat feature to help pump up usage of its standalone Messenger app. You will still see the messages button but rumor has it that it will automatically send users out to Messenger when it’s tapped. The company began notifying select European users of its main Facebook app that in two weeks’ time, messaging will be disabled and people will be prompted to download Messenger if they have not already. The company confirmed that this is not a test and will soon begin rolling it out worldwide.
Android phones will be exempt due to particularly low memory, as will Windows Phone and tablet users for the time being. Facebook Paper, the company’s new news-focused redesign, will also keep in-app messaging.
While it sounds overtly forceful to push users out of one app and onto another, Facebook has already gone to great lengths to drive usage of its increasingly robust mobile app family. Even now, if users have Messenger installed on iOS, Facebook’s main app will kick them over to it when they want to chat with friends. The only difference with the upcoming change is that users will be forced to download Messenger.
The process of moving from one app to the next, while still not ideal if you want to minimize the presence of Facebook on your smartphone, is relatively smooth and quick. On iOS, the Messenger interface happens to include a blue banner that, when tapped, switches users back to the main Facebook app. On Android, this is not the case — nor does Facebook’s main app force Android users to open up Messenger even if they have it installed. It’s unclear at the moment whether or not Facebook’s Messenger changes will be the same across iOS and Android.
What are your thoughts? Do you use Messenger or simply use the chat window within Facebook? Let us know in the comments section below.