Facebook to kill messaging in app, users need to download standalone Messenger

29 Jul 2014

In a move no doubt calculated to boost its share of the messaging market, Facebook is removing Messenger out of its main Facebook app and users will need to download the standalone Messenger app for iOS or Android.

In many cases, consumers are opting to use Facebook’s Messenger service or other platforms, such as WhatsApp (which Facebook acquired in February for US$16bn), Viber or Snapchat over traditional mobile platforms, such as SMS.

This makes sense since messaging over these platforms within Wi-Fi networks is free.

The change only affects users of Facebook’s mobile app on Android and iOS. Mobile web, Windows Phone, Facebook for iPad, feature phone and desktop users won’t be affected by the move.

Higher engagement in messaging among iOS and Android users has spurred Facebook toward making the change.

Messaging is the new SMS

No doubt the move will further raise tensions among mobile operators who see players such as Facebook, Twitter and Google as profiting on the back of their networks without having made capital investment in mobile networks.

The other aspect to consider is the changing nature of mobile social networks, thanks to players such as Snapchat and more recently Secret and Yo!, whose platforms are turning the social and messaging paradigms on their head, leaning in the direction of infotainment and anonymity.

Facebook app users can expect to see messages from Facebook in the coming weeks urging them to download the standalone Messenger app.

Real-time messaging image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years