Mobile messaging apps like Snapchat, WhatsApp and WeChat have been eating into people’s engagement time on their mobile devices, and the place where the loss is being felt the hardest is at Facebook, which previously was the go-to messaging service for hundreds of millions. Facebook’s answer to this was Facebook Messenger: a standalone app developed by the company, which took contacts from the main social network, while at the same time creating a clearer interface with increased functionality.
While previously, mobile users of Facebook had been given the choice of whether they access their messages through the main Facebook app, or through Facebook Messenger, this choice is soon to disappear. Facebook, in the coming days, will gradually start forcing users to download the Facebook Messenger app, while at the same time removing the messaging functionality of the main app.
Facebook believes consumers will consent to this change due to the improved interface of Facebook Messenger. The app itself sports a cleaner and faster design, allowing users to navigate online contacts, chats, and unread messages with much greater ease. Furthermore, the app adds functionality which had previously been missing from the original integrated messenger. This includes the ability to send videos, voice messages, and interactive emoji known as ‘stickers’.
While these features are all well and good, there are also plenty of reasons for users to be annoyed at this move. Firstly, users who used to interact with both items in their standard Facebook News Feed and with messages from their friends simultaneously, will now have to awkwardly multi-task between apps. Secondly, the very act of having to install yet another app is sure to annoy users who have limited data storage and onscreen space for apps.
Additionally, this app could actually run the risk of reducing the amount of interaction between users and the main social network part of Facebook. For many people, the messaging aspect of Facebook was its main drawcard. Once involved answering messages, users would also interact with the News Feed, posting statuses, and commenting on other people’s posts. By splitting these functions of mobile, Facebook could kill this habit-forming aspect of the social network, seriously harming the quality of the network.
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