Facebook forcing Android and iOS users onto Messenger, ready to take the pushback

Daniel Bader

April 9, 2014 10:33pm

Facebook is forcing users to download its standalone Messenger app for iOS and Android if they want to continue chatting with a smartphone. The company, which recently purchased WhatsApp for a staggering $19 billion, is trying to register higher adoption in North America, and is using any means at its disposal — including potentially pissing off a large contingent of its user base — to achieve it.

Like Dropbox, Facebook is intent on building an ecosystem of separate mobile apps destined for specific functions as it moves away from being “merely” a social network. Messenger has become a core tenet of its business, as the company sells stickers through its own store, and furthers the brand without inundating users with ads.

Not everyone will be forced to download Messenger, though. Older Android phones with insufficient memory capacity for the newer, sleeker Facebook Messenger will be able to continue chatting within Facebook proper; and Windows Phone users won’t be required to migrate away from main app for chatting, even though Facebook worked with Microsoft to release a standalone Messenger app earlier this year.

Facebook is trying to make the transition as easy as possible by making Messenger far more compelling as a standalone product. Integrating VoIP calling, group messaging and picture sharing is just the start of what the company wants to be an ecosystem of chat apps that span every computing platform. A tablet version of Messenger is expected for iPad in the coming weeks, too. Android users may also benefit from the change, as the core app will be smaller and therefore load faster.

  • ad19

    What is happening with BlackBerry 10 Facebook users?

    • awhite2600

      Who cares. Blackberry 10 is a small single digit percentage of the Facebook user base.

    • ad19

      Thanks for the enlightened answer. It was just a simple question and if you have nothing to add, don’t answer.

    • wahwah

      Its the truth, deal with it foo.

    • Anaron

      He obviously cares. What’s your problem?

    • wahwah

      He didn’t say anything offensive. Just the truth so deal with it foo.

    • jay

      Because we don’t need that

    • awhite2600

      I’m sorry if I upset any BB10 users. I was just trying to state that they are a very small minority of Facebook mobile users. Facebook is going to focus on its largest user base by platform – iOS and Android. That’s just good business sense. Things like Blackberry and Windows phone will not be at the top of a priority list. Perhaps in the future they too will be pushed to Messenger as well.

    • Cormang

      Windows Phone already has a Facebook messenger app. They should have killed in app messaging a long time ago.

    • Exikle

      I believe that because bb10 users compared to android and iphone are not as big of a user base, that they’ll probably stay on the regular fb app

    • BadGoliath42

      I think BlackBerry made the FB app, so I’m not sure it will affect them since they are just using the API.

    • Syaz

      They did indeed; it exists on the BB10 store as a made for BB10 app. Even if it didn’t an Android port would likely work.

  • grantdude


  • Tpickles

    Does that mean us that already use messenger will stop getting double notifications?

    • Nexzen

      The double notification has already been stopped by Google in the latest version of Android.

    • Anaron

      The latest released version or an upcoming version like 4.4.3?

    • Cormang

      You can’t disable notifications from the app manually? I had the same issue on Windows Phone except it was triple notifications because WP has built in FB chat, FB app, and the FB Messenger app. I disabled the notifications from the app and built in chat and now just use the FB Messenger app instead. Works very well.

  • SpellingBee

    “as beome” must be latin for “pressing spell check was just too much work.”

    • wahwah

      Come on. This is mobikesyrup, not the NY times…

  • Miles Harbord

    I just use my smartphone browser to go to Facebook, it’s far less obtrusive that way, screw the FB app, imho.

    • wahwah

      Screw Facebook in its entirety would be a better idea. The old saying Facebook is for f**s rings true.

  • Tommy Crosby

    Crap… Just as @b3ll (his Twitter) made the jailbreak tweak to make Facebook ChatHeads working outside Facebook… (Chatheads on iOS are only in Facebook, not Messenger)

    • Anaron

      Hopefully, they’ll update it so it behaves like the Android version of Facebook Messenger.

  • Allan

    What phone is that in the photo?

    • Anaron

      Moto X.

  • Pat Simeon

    Time to deactivate auto-update on for Facebook on my Android, hahaha. Hope this works.

    • Striker67

      Won’t work. They can turn the messenging part off on their end.

  • hardy83

    The Facebook app already lets you chat. It’s stupid they want you to use multiple programs to do what one app already does.

    It’s just a waste of phone resources and battery life.

    • Cormang

      Not really. I’d rather have quick access to FB Chat and NOT have to use the Facebook app. I don’t understand how having two apps would affect your battery. Regardless if it’s one app or two, the workload is the same…

    • FiveOD

      Because Facebook running in the background is enough of a resource hog and battery drain as it is.

  • TrollSoul

    I’m not downloading another app just to use Facebook Messaging. Guess I won’t be messaging on Facebook anymore…

  • FiveOD

    If I didn’t need to use Facebook to stay in contact with my classmates I would have disabled my account a long time ago. It’s only a matter of time before Facebook dies and is replaced with something better. Hopefully this kind of naked, profit hungry hostility toward their user base will speed up their inevitable demise.

  • hoo dat

    Facebook pissed me off years ago when it became apparent that they didn’t then and never would take their users’ privacy and security seriously, I haven’t used any of their services for about 8 years now and I don’t miss a thing. With Facebook now willing to play chicken with their users it wouldn’t come as any surprise if we saw members dumping the thing altogether. I know quite a few people for whom it wouldn’t take much more for them to quit.