back to article Facebook: Want to stay in touch? Then it's Messenger or NOTHING

If you're used to sending messages to Facebook friends, enjoy it while you can – Facebook plans to kill the feature on mobile clients and force users to download its Messenger app instead. "In the next few days, we're continuing to notify more people that if they want to send and receive Facebook messages, they'll need to …

  1. qzdave

    can I has all your data?

    Old Zuck doesn't want you using FB on web on mobile. The app gives him access to your location, phone book, accounts, call log etc etc. Right now you can use and do everything without an app install and he only gets what you give him on the site. So he's gonna put a stop to that pronto.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: can I has all your data?

      A few months back I kept getting pestered by friends to install the messenger app, so I did and it was a buggy POS that killed my battery. I uninstalled it and when I got blocked from sending messages through the app I switched to using the website and uninstalled the app. I still use the mobile site around the same amount of times I used to use the app, but one thing I've noticed on Android is my battery is at least 20% healthier per day for it and that is on an S4.

      Facebook are slowly, but surely trying to build their own walled garden, which is fair enough they are out there to make money, but the main reasons I'm on there - following friends / bands / a few pages can all be done on twitter and organised much better using tweetdeck. If they remove the messaging feature from then I think they'll lose a few customers, but they won't be bothered by it as the numbers will just be a drop in the ocean.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: can I has all your data?

        All true, and also: "It will allow free VoIP calls domestically and internationally " means if they can get the folk who are dependent on staying in touch to switch to the app, they now also get to join the dotted lines when they are not using fb by having access to all your other phone calls that you might make normally from a landline.

      2. Steven Roper

        Re: can I has all your data?

        " If they remove the messaging feature from then I think they'll lose a few customers, but they won't be bothered by it as the numbers will just be a drop in the ocean."

        They probably won't lose any customers, since the advertising agencies that comprise Facebook's customer base aren't adversely affected by this feature change. However, Facebook may lose a fair few of the products they're selling to their customers...

      3. Wordfuse

        Re: can I has all your data?

        Agreed, lots of Face-ies (all about them) movements and developments.

        I recall the Messenger app is about 27 megs - why?

    2. DougS Silver badge

      Re: can I has all your data?

      Facebook doesn't have access to your location, phone book, call log, etc. on iOS. I have it disabled from getting access to my location and contacts because I refused to give it permission when I installed it, and it can't access the call log or accounts.

      While there are ways around this stuff on Android, pretty sure a big company like Facebook is not going to use security issues in older versions of Android to access this data without the user's permission. That would be a pretty big hit of negative publicity, even for Facebook.

      Zuck has no idea where I am or who I know outside of Facebook. Well, that latter is not strictly true, people who stupidly allow Facebook to access their contact list and have me in their contact list but not on Facebook will be known by Facebook I guess.

  2. channel extended

    The less they care

    It seems that the more a company is worth the less they care about their user's.

    Google, You Tube,Comcast, Verizon?

    1. Amorous Cowherder

      Re: The less they care

      Well yes, as they get bigger they need more money to run the service "for free". That only comes by way of "the man" sorting out their finances and making sure that every possible opportunity is taken to maximise income, if that means pissing off a few users then so be it, that's business.

      Facebook was one of the first to get social networking right, grew at a stellar rate pulled in everyone and their dog and as Google+ found out separating people from their circle of online mates is a nigh on impossible task. Creatures of habit, most of the time we simply shut-up and put up with things that are relatively small parts of our daily lives. The average FB user ( just a few mates and family ) wouldn't dream of trying to waste any time on trying to move to another network, it's not worth the effort. Zuck knows this, which means up to a certain point he can do what the hell he likes with his baby, everyone moans but ultimately puts up with it.

      1. Someone Else Silver badge

        @ Amorous Cowherder -- Re: The less they care

        Zuck knows this, which means up to a certain point he can do what the hell he likes with his baby, everyone moans but ultimately puts up with it.

        Yup. Pretty much the definition of sheeple, I wot.

    2. Pirate Dave Silver badge

      Re: The less they care

      Don't forget Microsoft in your list of big companies who care less about their users...

    3. Bullseyed

      Re: The less they care

      You seem to be implying FB ever cared about their users.

      The only thing that keeps me on FB messenger is my girlfriend has an unlimited Verizon data plan with not-unlimited texts, and chat heads. Someone else needs to copy chat heads pronto.

      1. John 62

        Re: The less they care

        Chat heads is one of the worst user interface designs I've seen. I use Facebook messaging for private messages, a bit like email (note I said Messaging, because I haven't installed the messenger app). I generally dislike online chatting.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    His site, his rules....

    Facebook can set the rules, but they can't force people to play. When people don't like the rules, they do have the option to just stop playing his game.

    I use facebook to keep up with my kids and grandkids, but while I've tried the facebook app several time I just keep uninstalling it because it sends notifications that I don't want or care about, even when I tell it not to notify me. I don't need my phone beeping and buzzing in the middle of a meeting or in the middle of the night because the facebook can scanned the friends of my friends, thinks that I might know them, and ask me to send them a friends invitation - or any of the other useless notifications that it generates.

    If he reduces functionality by taking away messaging, then all he has really done is make his product less valuable.

    Besides, anybody who I would actually WANT to talk to already has my phone number and/or email address, so why add a another method that doesn't honor the wishes of the user?

    1. Khaptain Silver badge

      Re: His site, his rules....

      " Besides, anybody who I would actually WANT to talk to already has my phone number and/or email a

      address, so why add a another method that doesn't honor the wishes of the user?"

      The obvious question would then be : So why not completely remove Facebook ?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: His site, his rules....

        As already mentioned in the original post, the app already HAS been removed. I now just use the mobile browser if I really want to access the pictures to show off the grandchildren.

      2. VinceH

        Re: His site, his rules....

        When I used Facebook, I adopted the AC's view - and occasionally posted a comment along the lines of "Don't contact me via Facebook: I'll ignore you. There are other, better methods to contact me. Try the phone. If you don't know my number, try email - my address is easily found."

        "The obvious question would then be : So why not completely remove Facebook ?"

        Eventually, of course, I did.

  4. Neoc

    Let's look at it another way.

    I wasn't using FB's messaging option all that much before - now, I guess I'll be using it even less.

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Re: Let's look at it another way.

      Me too. Maybe have one brief conversation every few months. I'll just do that on the web, since I damn sure won't install a second app because Facebook is too stupid to wrap the functionality into a single app.

  5. Nigel Brown

    I junked the app months ago.

    Just using the web browser now. If they remove that option then hell, I can always wait until I get home to find out my friends highest score on the latest faddy game, or see a photo of their lunch......

    1. Rafael L.

      Re: I junked the app months ago.

      Cool, go back to your Google+ app / Hangouts app combo. It's very different smartass!

  6. Morrie Wyatt


    Farcebook. Who needs it!

    The sheer amount of time people waste on it each day is staggering.

    Don't have an account, don't want an account, don't need Farcebook.

    Too easy.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Meh.

      Your choice of course but it's simply your opinion. People use it for lots of genuinely useful reasons.

      I'm a serious amateur photographer and FB has allowed me to make contact with fellow snappers both pros and amateur from around the country including some of the people I look up to. When you've been working your arse off to get somewhere for several years and a world famous photographer decides to make contact with you specifically through Facebook because of your work, that's something special and something that most likely may not have happened so easily elsewhere. Most photo sharing sites are simply full of people scoring hits on their images, they've no interest in discussing anything with fellow togs. There are so many solo photo sites out there that you don't get to meet with that many fellow snappers in your area and certainly not those you admire. FB has allowed me to not only meet people of similar level of ability, it's allowed me to meet with people in person and even got me to start selling prints through a professional printer and agent I met on FB.

      Yes FB is full of some right utter shite and some complete fecking eejits but it's like any tool, if it's used carefully is can be extremely valuable resource. I don't want to be a desk jockey for the rest of my life, meeting and discussing photography based business ideas with others has given me some hope that I might have a second career in the making.

      1. monkeyfish

        Re: Meh.

        El Reg. Who needs it!

        The sheer amount of time people waste on it each day is staggering.

        Don't have an account, don't want an account, don't need El Reg.

        Too easy.

        (people waste time on all kinds of things, it's your time, and you can waste it as you wish)

        1. Richard Jones 1

          Re: Meh.

          I have never used FB and I've lost out on nothing. My wife has it on her computer, which she does not even switch on everyday. She looks at Facebook from time to time but is it a pillar of her life? No not ever. As for having it on a mobile, if I am out and mobile it is because I am doing something and therefore engaged with an activity. Why would I want e-mail, facebook, or for that matter some dumb arse PPI sales twat calling me?

          Sadly I do get the PPI calls, but never borrowing means that I have never wasted money on PPI either. The money saved on loan interest means that if I want something I can now borrow from myself and no one comes chasing if I do not pay 'me' back!

  7. Mr Templedene

    I use facebook, I've not upgraded the app on my phone for ages though, some of the permissions it wants I wont let it have.

    But when I was having a paranoid privacy day I did once remove it, boy did my phone not like that (HTC Desire C) I had to re-install the app to get it working again. :(

    I don't remember specifics, and probably could have sorted it out without caving in, but

    1. I rather liked having facebook

    2. I needed my phone to work

    1. Stacy

      As others here have said

      I refused to update the app for the same reason - I don't like the amount of permissions it is asking for.

      I've only used the mobile site in Firefox for a while now, and apart form Firefox being annoying and trying to get me to use old comments when trying to enter a new one it's just as good, if not better than the app!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: As others here have said

        Your battery will thank you, and you'll have a hell of a lot more storage available, too. I mean, over 23Mb for the app, and 13Mb just for a damn messenger? And then take a look at the enormous amount of cache the apps use after that. Just how do they write such bloated code?

        1. Neil 44

          Re: As others here have said

          If you're worried about the permissions of apps (like Messenger - why should it need access to my SMS and contact list?) then an App called Advanced Permissions Manager can clip its wings!

        2. Rafael L.

          Re: As others here have said

          Yet people will give WhatsApp more than 22 MB smiling. :)

          1. alwarming

            Re: As others here have said

            > Yet people will give WhatsApp more than 22 MB smiling. :)

            I thought it was 19B.

            1. Rafael L.

              Re: As others here have said

              It is 19 Bytes, my mistake. Commented on The Reg from the wrong reality.

              1. alwarming

                Re: As others here have said

                > It is 19 Bytes, my mistake. Commented on The Reg from the wrong reality.

                Or..maybe it's 19billion $s. ;-)

      2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: As others here have said

        Curiously, the browser on my phone (Android 2.mumble) gets an HTTP 403 Forbidden error for As far as I can recall I've never tried to connect to it before, and I checked all the relevant settings.

        I refused to update the app for the same reason - I don't like the amount of permissions it is asking for.

        Ditto, though I also begrudge its resource consumption.

        I don't post to Facebook myself (or only extremely rarely), but my family members use it often, and people insist on using it to invite me to events, so occasionally it'd be handy to be able to check it from my phone. But I've survived without it this long.

  8. oddie


    I'd rather have everything in one place to be honest... realistically, if they move messaging off-app then I guess I'll do without it for a while, use skype in stead and see if it fills the same purpose in terms of keeping in touch with family and friends, maybe come back later on if I find that I am losing out by not installing the separate messenger app :/

    I'm socialy/workflow-y invested enough in facebook that I'll care about this change.. but not very much.

  9. Jimboom

    Over it now

    When the messenger app came along and was forcing you to install it if you wanted to send messages I stuck with the older version of the farcebook app on my phone so that I could at least get onto the site and whatnot.

    Since I changed phone about a month ago, I haven't even bothered re-installing/ revisiting farcebook. Don't think I will, heck, might even go all the way and delete the account as I hardly used it, apart from when I used to post pictures for relatives... on the app, which is a no-goer now.

    So in fact, this move has lost you one user. Well played Zuk... well played.

  10. John Robson Silver badge

    The messenger app is actually quite good.

    I wish they'd release it as a pure Jabber client (which is how I access FB most of the time) - but the floating heads system actually works. Having the "draw over other apps" option means you don't need to stop what you're doing either.

    Not got the FB app, nor do I use their website. It's a convenient, and widely used, Jabber service though.

    Actually if anyone else released said Jabber client... Then Google Chat (or whatever they call it this week) could go as well. The only remaining issue is that neither service attempts redelivery if you were offline when the message was sent, and other people expect that behaviour.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. I like noodles

      Re: The messenger app is actually quite good.

      Each to their own - I utterly loathe the floating heads system, I'd much rather just get a notification.

    3. Bullseyed

      Re: The messenger app is actually quite good.

      Yep. Chat heads is great, especially when you need to keep in touch with your SO while playing phone games.

      1. Rafael L.

        Re: The messenger app is actually quite good.

        They don't pop in full screen games/apps, FUDer.

  11. Hellcat

    Will I even notice?

    FB messaging is possible direct from the people hub in WP8. I've never felt the need to see if there is a messaging app for FB in the store.

    Actually removing the messaging part would clean up some annoying behaviour where you get an alert on the FB app that you have a message, then the message shows on your people hub also, meaning you have to aknowledge it in both places.

  12. Michael Habel Silver badge

    So where does Whats App, fit into this? AFAIK they own that too right? Is this new "Messenger App" going to be as Ad raddled as Facebook is now?... Probably.... Makes One wonder how many other "Messenger Apps" are out there that have yet to be ruined by Mr Zuckerberg?

  13. FntX

    Oh well..

    ...yet another app with push functionality which eats away the battery. Now you just need twice the energy for the same service...

  14. David Paul Morgan


    I've deleted facebook official and other variants from my handset and now have an icon to the site which is actually nice. none of the clients have behaved themselves.

    for 'messaging' I only use hangouts (for hangouts and txt), gmail and yahoo mail).

    instagram, vine et. al. I don't 'get'

    Facebook is great for a continuous 'low level' awareness of what your acquaintances & friends are doing, but direct message is hangouts/txt (or email)

  15. Nigel Whitfield.

    Splitting is the new 'thing', I fear

    Facebook aren't the only ones doing this insane "we'll force you to use two apps instead of one" bollocks. FourSquare are removing the option to check in from their app, and trying to persuade users to use Swarm.

    Some people may well respond faster when they use Messenger; anyone who tries to send me a message on Facebook now will likely get a slower response, because I uninstalled both apps from my phone, and they'll have to wait until I'm using a browser, and notice there's a new message.

    The main app knows you have a message; it knows who it's from, and even at least a bit of the text, so it can pop up a notification that then allows it to say "hahah, gotcha, now install something else to read the message."

    Sometimes it seems that the people creating these apps assume that everyone uses them in the way they do; that everyone has the latest devices with lots of storage space. With FourSquare/Swarm I honestly can't see the point for me; I don't give a toss where people are right now, because I'm not a 20-something valley geek who hangs out at just a few places with all my mates, which seems to be the point of the new app. I suspect FS on my phone is likely to go the same way as the Facebook app, because that'll be less frustrating than bouncing between apps to do different functions that all used to be in the same one.

    Take two apps into the shower? Sod off with that.

    1. Moeluk

      Re: Splitting is the new 'thing', I fear

      Thank God, it's not just me that's been thinking that....all I know is that in the early 90's we were all told about the advantages of taking one bottle into the shower instead of two...

      and yet 20 years later, bookface are taking us in the other direction. I for one have abandoned the bookface app on the iPad and use Fera, I shall do the same on the iPhone if it stops me doing the same there.

    2. Vinyl-Junkie

      Re: Splitting is the new 'thing', I fear

      Too true - I am extremely vexed now that the BBC has "split" the iPlayer app so that the original app only plays TV (which I never use) and they have yet to release an iPlayer for radio, which is all I ever used it for.

  16. phil dude


    facebook bought whatsapp, and this is how it works. Even on my creaky N8, it is unkillable - it runs all the time. There are hacks to stop it from starting, but I haven't been bothered to "thread that needle".

    I must say it is convenient for friends on other continents...


    1. Belgarion

      Re: whatsapp...

      I use it for the same reason - friends on other continents. I don't have (or want) Facebook apps installed on any mobile device. My PC is sufficient for what little Facebooking I do. If Whatsapp starts giving me FB notifications, I'll delete that as well.

      I can survive with basic SMS texting.

  17. jb99

    I don;t get the anger about this.

    What does it matter if it's one app or two?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I don;t get the anger about this.

      What does it matter if it's one app or two?

      With the site if a few friends are commenting on a status I can quickly get to messages and send one or more of them a message. With this new setup I have two battery hungry apps and I need to come out of one to launch the other to then find and send the message to the person in question.

      They are basically trying to slowly replace your phone book and phone functionality by adding things like VOIP as well as the messaging and their permission requests are ridiculous. Sadly though people grant them and Androids application of permissions leaves far too much to be desired

    2. John 62

      What does it matter if it's one app or two?

      1) Turf wars. Facebook suddenly has two app icons on your launcher and twice the application storage thus blocking other potential comms systems, like Line/Telegram/etc.

      2) Personally I want all my facebook stuff in one place. I only use Facebook private messaging very occasionally and only for email-style comms, not chatting (I don't really do online chatting). I would also like Lync folded into Outlook (the conversation history goes there anyway and Outlook can show presence just the same as Lync, so I'm not sure why they don't just make Lync an Outlook extension - I can't think of many MS customers who would be buying Lync without Outlook).

  18. Clockworkseer

    Kindle Users

    Kindle users need not apply right now. Facebook seem to have been singularly incapable of providing the messenger app in the Amazon appstore, so if that version also goes messengerless, they'll hit a bit of a snag.

    Granted, it;s possible (although fiddly and not always successful) to add the google play store as well, but if they can publish the main app on the Amazon store,the messenger shouldn;t be too much of an issue.

  19. Richard Conto

    App Hazard

    The more Apps, the more resources are consumed on your phone - from notifications to memory (due to duplicate resources - code, images, etc.) And the greater "surface area" there is for vulnerabilities.

    Mostly, I see this as a great opportunity for new life for Google's social networking service.

    And perhaps it'll allow me to wean myself from Facebook as my work desktop is Ubuntu and if they go to a proprietary-only messenger app, I doubt Pidgin will be able to support it.

    1. Rafael L.

      Re: App Hazard

      Yeah Google+ will rule with its EQUALLY SEPARATED Hangouts app.

  20. 080

    Messenger or Nothing?

    Simple choice really, and for me it's Nothing

  21. IGnatius T Foobar

    Best reason to avoid using the FB app...

    Anyone even remotely interested in privacy should avoid having the Faecesbook app installed on their mobile device. The app requires your permission to turn on the microphone whenever it wants. It can spy on you at will.

    1. Rafael L.

      Re: Best reason to avoid using the FB app...

      A shit ton of other apps has Record Audio permission, you should throw your phone away if you don't want any apps to be able to use the mic. A plus: on App Ops here it says FB Messenger never used it.

    2. FrankAlphaXII

      Re: Best reason to avoid using the FB app...

      Easier said than done. Damned near every manufacturer and provider has it preinstalled. I'd imagine Firefox OS and Sailfish phones are probably immune, but they're a definite minority.

      And by the way, linking to Alex Jones and his patented brand of batshit craziness here probably isn't the smartest idea if you're not seeking imperial tons of downvotes, just a bit of friendly advice. Then again, you can link to solid mathematics or scientific fact and still get it too, just a matter of commentards and their moods on a given day.

  22. Levente Szileszky

    You want to play hardball? Fine.

    Well, then I will stop using it on my phone altogether, you arrogant twat...

    ...Mr Sugarhill - it's your call.

  23. tekHedd

    And I was getting used to messaging my friends on facebook

    Are they killing third-party app access as well? I've been using a mobile app (IM+ Pro) to access various messaging systems from a single app. I don't really use Facebook for messaging, but I was getting used to the idea of contacting *some* of my friends via Facebook as their primary contact, and even sometimes initiating contact to them via Facebook messaging when I needed to reach them.

    I guess if they do, it's no real loss... I guess the point is... *SHRUG* Who gives a rats?

  24. connermac725

    tracking is the game

    it is not enough they track every website you visit even after you log out of FB online.

    Now they want to track everywhere you go in real life too!

    that is why I deleted my Facebook a year ago and do not even miss it

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