Zuckerberg Reveals Why We Were Forced to Download the Facebook Messenger App

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Zuckerberg Reveals Why We Were Forced to Download the Facebook Messenger App

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Back in July, Facebook announced that it will be removing the messaging feature from its mobile app, and requiring people to use its standalone Messenger app instead. Hence, forcing users to download the Messenger app to chat with their Facebook contacts on their mobiles.

The change followed through a plan which was announced in April and for now, affects Facebook mobile app on iOS and Android. According to the company, the plan had seen ‘positive results’ in Europe in terms of user engagement, and so decided to move ahead with rolling out of the standalone app to everyone. However, they never explained why this plan came into effect at the first place, until now.

In a live Q&A conversation yesterday, Mark Zuckerberg finally explained why Facebook moved messaging out of its main app and made it into a separate, standalone app that needs to be downloaded.

I’m grateful for hard questions. It keeps us honest. We need to be able to explain clearly why what we’re thinking is good. Asking everyone in our community to install a new app is a big ask. I appreciate that was work and required friction. We wanted to do this because we believe that this is a better experience. Messaging is becoming increasingly important. On mobile, each app can only focus on doing one thing well, we think.

The primary purpose of the Facebook app is News Feed. Messaging was this behavior people were doing more and more. 10 billion messages are sent per day, but in order to get to it you had to wait for the app to load and go to a separate tab. We saw that the top messaging apps people were using were their own app. These apps that are fast and just focused on messaging. You’re probably messaging people 15 times per day. Having to go into an app and take a bunch of steps to get to messaging is a lot of friction.

Messaging is one of the few things people do more than social networking. In some countries 85 percent of people are on Facebook, but 95 percent of people use SMS or messaging. Asking folks to install another app is a short term painful thing, but if we wanted to focus on serving this [use case] well, we had to build a dedicated and focused experience. We build for the whole community. Why wouldn’t we let people choose to install the app on their own at their own pace? The reason is that what we’re trying to do is build a service that’s good for everyone. Because Messenger is faster and more focused, if you’re using it, you respond to messages faster, we’ve found. If your friends are slower to respond, we might not have been able to meet up.

This is some of the hardest stuff we do, is making these choices. We realize that we have a lot to earn in terms of trust and proving that this standalone messenger experience will be really good. We have some of our most talented people working on this.

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Parul Ritvik Sood
iGyaan Network's newbie, Parul is a Writer, Poet, Reader and Mass Communication Graduate with great interest in startups and entrepreneurship.