Get ready for another major Facebook change. The company is stripping messages from its iOS and Android apps and directing users to install Facebook Messenger if they want to keep chatting with friends.
"Today we are starting to notify people that messages are moving out of the Facebook app and over to the Messenger app," a Facebook spokesperson confirmed to TechHive. "To continue sending messages on mobile, people will need to install the Messenger app."
I'm betting this won't go over very well, but then again, few Facebook changes do. The network isn't making any sudden moves--that would only cause more outrage. Instead, users will see several notifications about the change before chat disappears from their app altogether.
The app update has already rolled out in a few European countries. You can expect to see notices about Messenger over the next few weeks.
What's one more Facebook app?
Apps have been a recurring theme in Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's remarks so far this year, beginning in January when he said stand-alone experiences were going to be Facebook's focus going forward.
A few short weeks later, Facebook bought competing messaging service WhatsApp for $19 billion in cash and stock. But the WhatsApp acquisition didn't kill Messenger. Zuck said after buying the app that Messenger and WhatsApp "serve different use cases" and that Messenger " evolved from Facebook chat, which was more instant messaging, not SMS."
Now that Facebook is killing its instant messaging service, its pair of complementary SMS replacement apps are prepared to dominate the messaging market. But first, Facebook needs all those people who casually used chat to migrate over to Messenger, which may not go as smoothly as the network would hope.