A Change for Facebook Messenger

Facebook going mobile

A Change for Facebook Messenger
| Published April 12, 2014 |

By Thursday Review staff

Over the next few weeks, Facebook users will face some abrupt but important changes. Facebook has announced that all mobile app users must migrate from co-opt plans (Facebook for iOS and Android) over to FB’s own Messenger application. No exceptions. No shirt, no shoes, no service.

Facebook began notifying its users this week, and will continue sending reminders of the change over the next few weeks.

The transition will affect all of Facebook’s billion-plus users worldwide, though FB will start to make the transitions in Europe first before mandating the switch in other parts of the world. Facebook is apologizing for the inconvenience, but stresses that the shift is just that—a minor adjustment. Facebook expects the transition to take several weeks and possibly months as users are notified in stages.

Previously, anyone using an Android device had the option to bypass Facebook Messenger by simply choosing to not download FB’s application, using instead other options available (and like a lot of things related to social media, there are variables too numerous and too baroque to list here). The short version is that Facebook wants those alternative options to go away, and some social media experts say that the reasoning is that those hidden, buried and subterranean processes are secondary to the Facebook experience. By eliminating such second-tier activity, the California-based company can operate a more streamlined social network, a reasonable argument.

Others aren’t buying this explanation, and there will be plenty of Facebook users who will get angry at the forced change—especially from those folks who prefer their independence from this latest draconian realignment. Many Facebook users get easily riled by change, especially those ubiquitous upgrades and renovations which seem to arrive overnight (in some cases, literally). The most frequent complaints have ranged from “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” to, “more irritating changes for the sake of change.”

Some techies also see the change as just another way a big tech firm can control the conversation and the flow. On social media (including Facebook) one tech-savvy complaint is that the conversion will be Facebook’s way of harvesting chat and culling through conversation to build a more exacting profile, the endgame being more surgically appropriate ads—especially as Facebook moves more aggressively into TV advertising using the main news feed. In other words, it’s all about the purchasing power found in your chats and messages.

Still others out there are threatening to abandon Facebook for the purposes of messaging altogether, and go with alternate products offline of FB’s architecture; i.e., keep Facebook, but don’t use it for chatting from your mobile device.

In the end, Facebook says it sees no choice in making the changes, and you can bet the migration—while annoying to some FB users—will still happen on Mark Zuckerberg’s timetable.

Do you have an opinion on the current FB changes? Send us your thoughts on the Facebook Messenger migration, and, if appropriate, we’ll print your comments here. Find us on Facebook, and send us a message (using whatever app you have that works!)

Related Thursday Review articles:

Are You ready for TV Ads on Facebook?; Thursday Review; Wednesday, March 19, 2014.