Facebook has officially rolled out their solo Facebook Messenger app, forcing users to make the switch or void all messages to friends. The new push has been hit with mostly negative responses from users, resulting in a 1.5 out of 5 star rating within the first week.
Negative response to change is not a new thing for Facebook, several of the changes to the News Feed, the introduction of Timeline and Facebook Home all got nailed early, and while some have not recovered (Facebook Home) others like Timeline have become a core part of Facebook’s identity.
Facebook Messenger is not getting negative comments due to forcing users away from the main app, but because it is asking for a lot of personal data. Facebook believes all of this is justified in the terms of service policy, but it still is a little creepy how many things Facebook wants to know.
Why split the apps?
Nobody knows the exact reason why Facebook is deciding to split up all of its features in different applications. A major factor could be the clutter on the main application, removing the messaging platform might help the clean aesthetic.
Other reasons could be to make the main application more revenue driven. The News Feed is the main place Facebook makes advertising revenue and Facebook Messenger makes next to none.
If Facebook Messenger is its own app, Facebook could start charging users for pro features and offer out themes and stickers. Digital goods won’t make a ton of revenue for the social network, but better than none-at-all.
The third reason is a little more suspicious, but does follow Facebook’s recent acquisition of WhatsApp for $16 billion. If Facebook removes messenger from the main app, in time they can move to offering WhatsApp as the alternative.
This would mean Facebook Messenger is simply a scapegoat, until the news has quieted down. After a few months, Facebook pulls Messenger and offers WhatsApp as the key solution. This will take a few months, and will force Facebook to integrate fully with WhatsApp.