If what’s already happening in Europe comes to pass worldwide, then Facebook users might soon be facing a big, intrusive change. Users in Europe have started to receive warnings that Facebook will soon be requiring its Messenger app to be downloaded and used if they want to keep on chatting with their Facebook contacts.
This move is hardly surprising but probably also poorly timed. Facebook has had for some time a dedicated messaging app that could also tap into your SMS workflow way before Google+ Hangouts even offered that feature. To some, it offered the convenience of not having to go through the rather clunky Facebook app just to chat away. To others, it might be a source of confusion with two separate ways to communicate on Facebook. This upcoming policy will remove that confusion but will probably not reduce ill feelings.
Facebook will soon be requiring the use of its own Messenger app in full, removing the messaging facility from its mobile apps. Theoretically, this will allow it to iterate over the Messenger app independent of the main app. As we’ve seen these past weeks, that might be a good thing. The transition, however, might not be so smooth for those not used to how the Messenger app works. In particular, the Chat Heads feature, which is optional but enabled by default, will need a bit of getting used to.
It is likely that this will not sit well even among Facebook’s own fans who have so far held back from installing the standalone messaging app. The added heat might be something that Facebook could do without after it has already been put under the microscope for its WhatsApp acquisition. Still, this change was inevitable and Facebook users will be left with no choice but to grit their teeth and carry on or call it quits and move on to other pastures.