Facebook App to Drop Chat, Tell Users to Download Facebook Messenger App

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/johanl/

If users want to continue using Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) chat on an Apple or Android smartphone, they need to download the Facebook Messenger app, because soon, the Facebook app won’t have its chat capabilities.

The news broke Thursday in a Reuters article that said European users were receiving notices from Facebook that they would have to download Facebook’s messaging app because the primary Facebook app would drop its chat feature in the near future. Facebook told Reuters in a statement that the move to drop the chat feature was meant to improve the chatting experience by making users transition to the Messenger app.

“We have built a fast and reliable messaging experience through Messenger and now it makes sense for us to focus all our energy and resources on that experience,” the company said in its statement to Reuters.

Facebook is the largest social media outlet, with about 1.23 billion users. Approximately 1 billion of those users access Facebook via mobile at least once a month. Recent research from digital analytics firm Flurry showed that Facebook is a very popular mobile app.

Messenger is Facebook’s chat app, first launched in August 2011. The app is essentially an expanded version of the chat feature currently available on the main Facebook app. Facebook’s product page gives a description of the product.

“Messenger is a mobile messaging app that lets you reach people instantly on their phones. With Messenger you can send private messages and stickers, chat with groups, and make free calls, even to people in other countries,” according to the company. “You can also see who’s available on Messenger and who’s active on Facebook. Messenger is available on Android, iOS, and Windows Phone.”

Some users are upset by this news. Social media and technology news website Mashable published an op-ed on Thursday detailing why the move is a bad decision for the company. Facebook responded to the piece, which has been updated to include the social media giant’s counterpoints. Facebook’s reply is that the company has rebuilt the app to be faster, that it’s tested the new approach, and that the Messenger app has grown 70 percent since its latest update.

Facebook also notes that these changes will only affect the iOS and Android versions of the app. The iPad version will not be affected by the change. Windows Phones are likely unaffected, too, if the change applies only to the iPhone and Android users.

In addition the primary Facebook app and Facebook Messenger, Facebook has an additional five apps, seven in total, in the Apple App Store: Facebook Pages Manager, Facebook Camera, Paper – Stories From Facebook, and Facebook poke. On the Android side, Google Play has a total of four apps available for download: Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Facebook Pages Manager, and Home.  This count does not include Instagram or WhatsApp.

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