Back in May, we reported that Facebook had started to warn users of the Facebook mobile app that chat functionality would soon be removed. In lieu of the native app, users would have to download Facebook Messenger instead.
Now, Facebook's push to bring all mobile-based Facebook messaging to the Messenger app is in full swing. A spokesperson for the company recently confirmed to Mashable that they are now in the process of removing the ability to chat in the main app from iOS and Android-based smart phones. To continue chatting on these devices, users will be required to download Messenger.
Still, the window for the feature being removed from the Facebook app on all iPhone and most Android-based smart phones is not completely set in stone. All Facebook confirmed is that its removal will roll out over the coming weeks. I can only assume that this means within the next couple of months, almost all users still wanting to chat with Facebook friends on their smart phones will have been forced to download Messenger by this point in time.
For users of the Facebook app who have still not downloaded Messenger, it's likely that you received an email from Facebook last week notifying you of the changeover. So whether you like it or not, you'll have to make the switch. Well, either that or download an alternative messaging app such as WhatsApp - but that's owned by Facebook, so you'd still be using a Facebook messaging app.
There are some exceptions to this rule. For example, iPad and Windows Phone users will still be able to message and chat to friends from within the native Facebook app. For users whose phones run on a particularly old version of Android, it's believed native messaging will remain for them, as well.
What do you think of Facebook forcing users to embrace Messenger for chatting? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
UPDATE: Since first writing this article, word has it that the mandatory changeover to Messenger has occurred for most users. To no one's surprise, those who've been forced to download Messenger have been less than supportive of the app in their App Store / Google Play reviews.
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