Facebook confirms changes to instant message mobile app

10/04/14

Man holding a phone in front of the Facebook logo

Facebook is changing the way it allows users to send and receive instant messages on their mobile phones.

The social network is removing the features from its main mobile app.

Instead, users will have to download Messenger, a separate app, if they wish to send messages to their friends on their phones.

"Today we are starting to notify people that messages are moving out of the Facebook app and over to the Messenger app," said a spokesman.

"To continue sending messages on mobile, people will need to install the Messenger app."

Facebook says chat should improve for many users, highlighting data that suggests replies are 20% faster on Messenger.

It also says taking messages out of the Facebook app will enable it to "focus on making Messenger better for everyone rather than working on two messaging experiences".

Phone with WhatsApp and Facebook apps

Currently, users who already have Messenger installed are automatically redirected to the message app from the Facebook app.

Those without Messenger will now be prompted to download it when they use the Facebook chat function on their phone.

The plan is to roll out the development over the next couple of weeks, starting in Europe, where some people have already begun to receive notification of the change.

Earlier this year, Facebook acquired instant messaging service WhatsApp for $19bn (£11bn).

Last month, Facebook updated its messaging service to better support group messages, something WhatsApp had already been known for.

Both chat services still operate independently of one another.

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