FACEBOOK HAS ANNOUNCED plans to remove messaging functionality from its core Android and iOS applications, forcing users to download Facebook Messenger instead.
Facebook has began notifying select European users of its apps, The Verge reports, advising them that it will remove their chat functions in two weeks. Once it disables those, it will prompt users to download Facebook Messenger - the firm's standalone messaging application - if they do not already have it.
This, as you'd probably expect, hasn't gone down very well with Facebook's mobile users, who aren't happy about being forced to give the social network more space on their smartphones' homescreens.
One user moaned on Twitter, "Why do I need [three] apps to use @Facebook? Facebook, Messenger, Pages Manager... What a mess."
"I hate Messenger, why should I have to use a completely different app just to use the live chat feature? Oh right, because Facebook doesn't give a shit about what we want", another barked.
However, Facebook claims that it is trying to make the process as painless as possible, and is promising that once the process is complete, it expects its Facebook apps to be faster.
For example, it has recently introduced a new feature on iOS, so that if a user has Messenger installed on their iPhone, Facebook's main app will switch them to it when they want to chat with friends. From Messenger, the user can touch a bar across the top of the screen to return to the main Facebook app.
It's unclear whether this feature will be rolled out to Facebook's Android app once its chat function is culled, and Facebook has yet to respond to our request for comment.
There will be some exceptions to the Messenger rule, too. Facebook said that those wielding a low-spec Android phone won't be forced to load Messenger on their handset, nor will those using a Windows Phone device - for now, at least. Messaging functionality will remain within its Paper application, although given that this still is not available in the UK, this won't be much benefit.
Perhaps this wasn't the best time for Facebook to announce such a shift, as we reported last month that a trojan has been spreading through Facebook's Messenger service. µ