Mark Zuckerberg Explains Why Facebook Messenger Became a Forced Download


A few months back, Facebook forced iPhone users to switch to the standalone version of Facebook Messenger app, if they wanted to continue sending and receiving messages on their devices. Today, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has finally explained why the company decided to move the messaging out of its main app, in a live Q&A session with The Verge.


Zuckerberg said that even though the primary purpose of the Facebook app is the News Feed, messaging was what people were doing more and more, sending over 10 billion messages per day. Since users had to wait for the Facebook app to load and go to a separate tab in order to read and respond to received messages, they decided to bring out a dedicated Facebook Messenger app.

Below is his full answer:

“I’m grateful for hard questions. It keeps us honest. We need to be able to explain clearly why what we’re thinking is good. Asking everyone in our community to install a new app is a big ask. I appreciate that that was work and required friction. We wanted to do this because we believe that this is a better experience. Messaging is becoming increasingly important. On mobile, each app can only focus on doing one thing well, we think.

The primary purpose of the Facebook app is News Feed. 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. We saw that the top messaging apps people were using were their own app. These apps that are fast and just focused on messaging. You’re probably messaging people 15 times per day. Having to go into an app and take a bunch of steps to get to messaging is a lot of friction.

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.This is some of the hardest stuff we do, is making these choices. We realize that we have a lot to earn in terms of trust and proving that this standalone messenger experience will be really good. We have some of our most talented people working on this.”

Well, now you know why you need to have two different apps installed on your iOS device to stay in touch with your family and friends on Facebook.


  • AF

    If i’m okay using the main app to send a message, why restrict me? Have both options and I’ll choose what I like,

  • BrodieTheDog

    Its still bull that we had messenger shoved down our throats. I don’t use Facebook apps anymore. I have no use for messenger besides the very rare note. So I use the web based version of face book on the odd chance I use it at all.

  • Anon

    The real reason is that they eventually want to merge it with Whatsapp Messenger.

  • They could have just made the main app not auto-load the current
    timeline. Always hated that. But admittedly, mostly only when I either didn’t
    want to use data, or just go straight to messaging.

  • xxxJDxxx

    Since I refuse to install another facebook app it now takes hours, or sometimes days, for me to respond to facebook messages. I use it much less than I used to. Way to go facebook. Your greedy attempt at expansion has made messaging much less relevant for me and the people I know.

  • FragilityG4

    The main app is for newsfeed? Why have you restricted the newsfeed so we can’t set it to newest first?? Instead we have to accept what facebook determines to be worthy of us reading.

  • Prailor

    I am not a fan of the messaging app. I enjoy looking through the feed while some one replays, now i have to switched apps.
    In the end i deleted it, also bc they want permission for everything.
    using the original FB app with a cydia tweak bluePill. works just like it use to 🙂

  • ChzPlz

    No, this is the reason I have no Facebook apps installed anymore. Just a link to the mobile website.

  • MleB1

    Load of codswallop. If Facebook too slow to load for users to access Messages, then they should fix that. Further, if all folks want to do is use Messaging, then pull the notification icon comp!etely from Facebook.

  • raslucas

    I really don’t understand why everyone was all pissed off about it. Two apps vs one app, who cares. I don’t think anyone can deny that messenger is a wayyyy better experience. People just feel entitled I guess. Try to remember that you have to right to affect the direction of a service that you aren’t paying for.

  • derpington

    completely missing the point, good job!