Facebook will soon prevent users from chatting through its mobile application, forcing its one billion members to download the dedicated Messenger app instead.
The social network began notifying users in some European countries including the UK, this week, warning that chatting through the regular iOS and Android application will no longer be possible in two weeks’ time.
Facebook’s dedicated Messenger application can be downloaded for free from the iOS App Store and Google Play store, although some users have already expressed their anger in being forced to use two applications when one currently serves them without issue.
Users already notified by Facebook - including Mobile Choice - now have a message at the foot of their message inbox and a link to download the Messenger app.
The social network has confirmed the change will be rolled out to users in all countries, but those using low-power Android handsets will not be forced to download Messenger; Windows Phone and tablet users will also continue to see chat messages in the regular Facebook app, as will users of the US-only Paper app.
Despite the annoyance of most users now having two Facebook apps, stripping out messenger will mean the regular app can be made smaller, more efficient and faster, while Messenger will gain features, such as free phone calls, as was recently added to messages within the main app.
Blending Messenger with WhatsApp, which Facebook recently purchased for £11.4bn, is expected to happen once the acquisition has been finalised.