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.

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