Facebook is getting heavy-handed this week. The company is forcing Facebook app users across Europe to install the standalone Messenger app.
Soon, Facebook’s main app won’t include chat. The company has been focusing on Europe to start, but all Facebook users will have to download the Messenger app if they want to chat with Facebook friends in the future.
Why is Facebook being so strict? There are a few good reasons, but mostly because having the same chat feature on two different apps owned by the same company doesn’t make a lot of sense.
The Competition Heats Up
The Facebook Messenger app is far from the only chat app available. Aside from WhatsApp, purchased by Facebook recently, BBM, and a bunch of other Wi-Fi enabled chat apps exist. So, Facebook has to start competing, which is one reason why the company is forcing people to use the standalone Messenger app. Another plausible reason is that Facebook plans to lace the Messenger app with advertising, and this can only happen if chat through Facebook no longer exists.
Facebook Messenger will compete directly with WhatsApp, which is curious, since Facebook actually owns WhatsApp now. But, Facebook has also recently announced that the company plans to make WhatsApp a voice calling service, mostly, so Messenger is clearly set to be the main chat app.
There’s very little doubt in this reviewer’s mind that Facebook will soon be bombarding Messenger users with ads galore, but that hasn’t happened quite yet.
If you have a Facebook account, you may have noticed that the social network is no longer as popular as it once was. People, in general, seem to be getting tired of what Facebook offers, and many are moving to other networks like Google Plus (which is quickly growing). Forcing people to download and adopt a Messenger app in lieu of the regular Facebook app may just push those last Facebook stragglers even further away. Typically, it’s not a good idea to force users to do anything, and it’s an even worse idea when a company is losing users regularly.
While it makes some sense for Facebook to push the Messenger app and eliminate chat through the Facebook app (why have two of the same thing?), most Facebook users probably won’t see it this way. Instead, many will find that Facebook’s forced policy is controlling, and that will likely lead to less Facebook users. In short, this isn’t necessarily great news for Facebook as a company or for Facebook investors.
There is a flip side, though; it is probably that the new Messenger app will increase the number of Messenger users (because they won’t have any other choice – with the exception of Skype, maybe, which connects Facebook users via chat). For those that are currently using the Facebook app to chat, those days are numbered. Soon, very soon, you’ll have to use Messenger or go without chatting with your Facebook friends (unless, of course, you all move to another chat app).