I just get the feeling that by disabling messaging in its mobile web app, Facebook is telling people like me they positively hate us. Everybody knows Messenger is very awesome if you want to chat to your Facebook friends. Many also know that Facebook Messenger is not so great when it comes to power management on your mobile device. That app sucks the juice of a phone’s battery. Evidence is how quickly your device gets hot if your are chatting on Messenger. The other disadvantage of Messenger is that, if you are on limited data like most of us in Nigeria, it makes sense to avoid apps like that. Because they have a way of depleting your data fast.
People like me have found a way around having to use Messenger: simply by using the mobile web version of Facebook to chat. And Facebook is not happy about that. What did they do about it? Simple. Disable chats in the web application. So if you now want to chat to your Facebook contacts, you must download and install Messenger. And if you have it already, but don’t use it (like me), then you better start using it. That is what happens when you have a monopoly. You are forced to use something. You other options being, leave it and stay out of chatting.
Several Facebook users using the mobile web app to chat started seeing the warning since last week. When they attempt to open their chat/messaging app on the web, a message pops up that reads, ‘Your conversations are moving to Messenger. Soon, you’ll only be able to view your messages from Messenger.’ And for some users, ‘soon’ actually means immediately. Because when they close the pop up message and try to open any message, they are instead re-directed to the web version of Google Play to download and install Messenger. Apparently, only users of Android devices are getting this message on their devices.
Just to be sure, I tried to access my Facebook messages through Opera Mini on my Android device. Everything was as it should. Meaning, six days after Facebook started implementing the policy, I am yet to see the change here. Praying that it won’t affect me is futile. Tech firms are notorious for rolling out updates on a region by region basis. So it would get to me soon enough.
The only statement so far about this move was the statement made in reply to Techcrunch’s query about the issue. As expected, it was the normal corporate spin where they tell you what just happened is in your best interest. So you’d better clap for them for looking out for you.
Relentless Messenger Updates
Since Facebook tried to force it’s users to use Messenger in 2014, it has being a never relenting campaign to push users towards Messenger. They have partly succeeded because Messenger now has close to one billion users due to that policy. But it is apparent Facebook is not satisfied just yet. Disabling messaging in the mobile web platform is just one way of showing that. The other ways Facebook has tried to get people to download the app was through numerous updates.
On such update was including the Messenger group voice calling feature and the group chat feature where one can even call or chat with non-users of Messenger simply by sending an invite through their phone number. Coming soon to Messenger is the self-destructing messages. A blatant copying of the same feature in the popular messaging app, Telegram. But by far the biggest change coming to Messenger would be the integration of chatbots. Announced at this year’s F8 conference, the chatbots aims to make Messenger a handy virtual personal assistant in the short run. Long term though is where the real deal is. If everything pans out accordingly, Messenger app would become The APP, capable of doing everything an operating system can do.
It is clear that Facebook is not resting until Messenger becomes king; both in the number of people using it and the functionalities crammed into the app.
photo credits: betanews.com; techcrunch.com