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Not for the first time, Facebook is pushing users toward its Messenger app

Keen to get as many users as it can onto its Messenger app, Facebook has started to warn users of its mobile website that its messaging capability will soon end. It’s not known how many people chat via Facebook’s mobile site rather than the Messenger app, but for some people, for example those with older handsets that struggle with the app, the website is a better option.

When opening the Messenger function on the mobile site, many users are now seeing a message that reads, “Your conversations are moving to Messenger – soon you’ll only be able to view your messages from Messenger.” Other users have reportedly been receiving direct prompts to download the Messenger app from the app store if they don’t already have it.

At the current time, you can dismiss the message by hitting the “x” symbol top right, though TechCrunch reports that the social networking giant is likely to shutter the mobile site’s capability to initiate chats by the end of the summer.

“Nudging” Facebook users toward its messaging app is reminiscent of the company’s strategy two years ago when it told users it was intending to remove the ability to chat via the main Facebook app, at the same time suggesting they download the Messenger app. The plan clearly worked, as the app now has more than 900 million active users, adding a colossal quarter of a billion in 2015 alone.

The Menlo Park company pulled the same move at the start of this year when it removed the ability to photo-sync from its main app, meaning users who wanted to use the feature had to download the company’s then-new image-based Moments app.

As for why it’s pulling chat from its mobile site, Facebook fed TechCrunch with the somewhat predictable line about its desire to give users the “best experience” in messaging. But as we all know, with the company getting serious about monetizing its messaging service, getting more users onto the fully featured standalone app is only going to boost the brand and enable it to charge higher rates when forming partnerships with businesses keen to connect with its burgeoning user base.

Moves are already well underway to build out Messenger to create something far beyond a straightforward messaging app. In April, for example, Facebook officially launched Messenger chatbots that allow users to easily interact with businesses from within the app. Initial partners for the feature include CNN, KLM, the Wall Street Journal, and 1-800-Flowers. The company has also forged Messenger partnerships with the likes of Uber, Lyft, Spotify and Dropbox for additional integrated services.

If you’re happily using Facebook’s mobile site for chat, how do you feel about the company’s decision to dump the option? Sound off in the comments below.

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