Confirmed by a Facebook representative earlier today, the social network plans to start forcing mobile users into downloading the Facebook Messenger application on iOS and Android if they want to send messages to their friends and family. The company will accomplish this by removing the ability to send messages within the main application that allows users to browse the feed. To ease users into transitioning over to Messenger, users will see notifications within the main app encouraging people to download Messenger. This will happen multiple times before the chat option is completely eliminated in the main app.
It’s likely that the current Messages button in the Facebook app will simply link to a download of Messenger. When Messenger is installed on the mobile device, the Messages button is automatically replaced with the Messenger icon. When tapping that new button in the main Facebook application, users will launch Messenger. However, users can return to the main Facebook app by tapping the top of the screen on the iOS version of the application.
According to a Facebook representative, the company wants to shift people into the Messenger application because sending and receiving messages within the main application is slower. Specifically, the representative said “people get replies 20 percent faster on Messenger than on Facebook.” Interestingly, Facebook doesn’t plan on removing or changing the Messages button within the Paper news browser application. It’s also going to stay put within the core Facebook application on Windows Phone devices as well as low-end Android devices that have limited memory for running applications.
Hypothetically, this could mean that the core Facebook application will run faster on mobile devices after Messages is completely eliminated. It will also allow Facebook to focus on expanding features within both applications, potentially leading into some interesting Messenger features related to the WhatsApp acquisition. Beyond the United States, Facebook also plans to remove messaging from the core application in several European countries that include the United Kingdom and France.