In his just concluded live Q&A session, which covered a variety of topics, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg explained the rationale behind his social networking company’s decision to spin off messaging from its main mobile app into a standalone app.
While acknowledging that the move had been far from frictionless, Zuckerberg maintained that the separate Facebook Messenger app is “a better experience,” especially since the main Facebook app is chiefly for News Feed browsing.
“The primary purpose of the Facebook app is News Feed,” he said. “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.”
Zuckerberg explained further (via The Verge):
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.
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Facebook began disabling messaging in its main mobile client and asking users to install Facebook Messenger instead late last July.
Having to install another app for a function that had been available in an app I’d already been using was, admittedly, a bit of a hassle. But I’ve grown to like Facebook Messenger, which is, as Zuckerberg touted it, “faster and more focused.”
See also: Facebook introduces new story-driven collage layout for sharing photos on mobile, Facebook introduces its anonymous chat app for the iPhone, Rooms, and Facebook updates Paper with optimizations for iPhone 6 and other improvements.