So sending me an FB message is now a black hole and I'm fine with that. FB's decision just pushed me and all other similar users (users that already are on the fringes of FB usage, using it only rarely) even further away.
I'm not sure if that's a bad thing or good thing for them, since honestly I don't know what FB could do alternately to win back people in my "barely use FB" demographic, and from comments here it does seem like people who actually use FB regularly did not share my reaction ("screw it then") and instead felt forced to install the app and move on with their lives.
Why not use Messenger without Facebook?
My reason not to use Facebook was because it trivializes friendships. With Facebook, I wouldn't have to go out of my way to be "friends" with someone, so the relationship would be less meaningful. But Messenger doesn't share that property --- you have to bother to click on someone's name and you have to bother to think up a good message to send them. That means it's no worse than any other IM client, with the strong advantage that your real-world friends already use it. You get to keep up with them in the way you want to, and they get to keep up with you in the way they want to.
Best of both worlds?
1. The mandatory "seen" indicator
2. All of your messages are beholden to a private company, permanently stored in plaintext
3. They analyze said messages to deliver advertisements. Seriously, one time I mentioned buying a Samsung SSD to my friend in chat, and all of a sudden I got a ton of SSD advertisements on the sidebar. Same thing when I mentioned Rick and Morty.
4. It's Facebook, for crying out loud.
While the seen indicator is a legitimate annoyance, it's been commonplace for some years now. I don't know of a modern chat app that doesn't have it.
As for the rest of your points, Facebook's money comes from ads. These concerns are not limited to chat, but using Facebook in general. As you browse the web, Facebook is tracking you and using the data to deliver more relevant ads. As you comment and make posts, Facebook uses the data to deliver more relevant ads.
Every part of the service is designed to help them do this, saying that these are reasons to "not use Messenger" is missing the point. The point of using Messenger is that you're not tied to any other portion of Facebook. You just get to message friends, plain and simple. The benefit is you're not being enticed into scrolling your news feed, spammed with notifications about upcoming events etc.
Plus, there are rumours they're going to bring e2e encryption in a la Whatsapp, which would pretty much squash points 2 and 3.
Also, as an alternative, Hangouts stores my chat history in gmail (opt in), so unlike Messenger/Line/Whatsapp I have a history of all my chats on Hangouts which I actually find very useful.
That said, 99% of my friends and family are on FB Messenger
"Instant Messaging" indeed!
Not that Google (or whoever) are going to implement it now...
This is why Facebook is best used in an incognito-mode browser window.
I use multiple tabs with FB whenever I do have to use it, and private/incognito mode wouldn't work well for that scenario because it would force me to login in every tab. So instead I use normal mode with extensions to block ads, tracking cookies, social features on websites and Facebook Redirection (where clicks are handled by FB to track which site is being visited). This is with a combination of uBlock Origin, Privacy Badger and a few others. That way, I get to have multiple FB tabs but don't see my profile in the comments section on another site to allow further tracking. Any link I visit from FB isn't exposed to FB either.
I don't use those either. I stick to texting and iMessage.
> The point of using Messenger is that you're not tied to any other portion of Facebook.
You're tied to their ad platform. Whether you view those ads or not are up to you; but you are nonetheless tied to it. They analyze your private conversations with the eventual hope to manipulate you.
>3. They analyze said messages to deliver advertisements. Seriously, one time I mentioned buying a Samsung SSD to my friend in chat, and all of a sudden I got a ton of SSD advertisements on the sidebar. Same thing when I mentioned Rick and Morty.
These are poor complaints, unless your circle of friends is so insular on the the (justifiably) paranoid side of tech that everyone is running their own mail servers and using GPG day to day.
Are your friends all Tor developers or something? I just can't imagine a set of family/friends/acquaintances who actually run their own Postfix and care what a public key is.
I'll accept the existence of an advertising profile (I don't see the ads, anyway) before I'lll cease all communication with everyone in my network, which is what it would take to avoid Facebook (or the exact same problem with a different company).
iMessage is nice, but many of the people I converse with regularly aren't in the Apple ecosystem.
I'd rather give my conversations to a company that sees storing/processing messages as a liability, rather than an asset.
To answer that question, I opted to list personal reasons why I don't use it; reasons I'm sure are shared by many. Your response is basically telling me my experience and opinions are wrong.
...Especially when you're trying to convince someone who saw it with their own two eyes.
I don't use Facebook enough to care; uBlock Origin suits my needs just fine.
For point 3, Facebook could still be analyzing the contents of messages.
Soon you may not have to! https://googleblog.blogspot.sg/2016/05/allo-duo-apps-messagi...
While I kinda get removing it from the mobile app, I don't really know what the rationale is for getting rid of mobile web chat though. It's not like it's disappearing from the desktop web app anytime soon, right?
Personally I'm not convinced that "Westerners" are going to get on board with Chinese-style all-in-one chat apps. I'm doubly unconvinced that Facebook will pull it off.
That said, we should probably consider all of these platforms harmful. I've migrated (and been pressuring my connections to migrate) to Telegram.org
Interesting. I have been much happier since killing the Fb app'a notification and badge permissions.
I'm guessing that within the next one year or so, Facebook will force people to move to official apps even on desktop systems (like Windows and OS X), closing browser based access completely. That would give Facebook more control on tracking, ads, etc.
There's a cost to using the free Messenger service .
They also want to make it into WeChat.
Fortunately, vendor lock-in breeds resentment and dissidents. Hopefully, a better alternative will come from this.
Oh cool, they brought over the thing that made me completely stop using Facebook!
If that weren't true, I wouldn't use Messenger, and if that's not true for you, I can understand not using it.
I don't really understand, however, why folks like you try to make this a morality issue.
> FB's decision just pushed me and all other similar users (users that already are on the fringes of FB usage, using it only rarely) even further away.
And I actually agree with you...
Of course the next highest child is then always the next most agreed upon counter argument since they should reply instead of downvote, which can make HN feel a bit contrary but full of good discourse
If you only ever use chat in the browser, you only see messages when you actively check it. With the app installed, you get a giant bubble that you can't ignore for every message. FB wants to be the messenger that people respond to immediately.
For me, I actually like the messenger bubble UI, and love that it's not built as a gateway to the massive time sink of the rest of Facebook. But I think it's clear that omnipresence is the goal here, and we have no reason to believe that it won't become a funnel to the rest of Facebook in the future.
But it also has Identity, Contacts, SMS, Phone, and a host of others. Do not want.
Btw: that works with mobile Firefox. (I originally used it instead of chrome, mostly because it supports ad blocking on unrooted devices.)
They just simply decided one day, oh hey let's redirect the messages page on the Facebook app to a static page saying "download messenger" and not give any access to the messages, including view-access. Even when you get a notification on your phone about a new message.
FWIW, I discovered this because Messenger would not show me a group chat that I was added to by co-workers (who I'm not friends with on FB).
Edit: just realized you were referring to the app, not the site. My mistake.
At least, since they're closing access from alternative sources, they're slowly succeeding in driving me off facebook. At least if I now have to move to an app, I'll pick one that supports end-to-end encryption (which facebook+xmpp+otr did fine, btw, until they killed it).
I wonder how quickly things will turn in the coming decades, as the incumbent network silos continue to screw users on the altar of data mining and ad revenue, and anyone can start a competing product for free (up to ~thousands of users at least, and at that point, maybe you can find a monetization strategy or get investment to keep going until your product becomes another "big thing").
As far as I can gather, XMPP is pretty much a dead end at this point, Google Wave is open, but also dead as a spec. So what'll presumably happen, is that eventually someone will find a new, sane, extensible and open protocol, and it will take over. We now know some things that other protocols were missing: easy serialization, sane hypermedia, sane extensions, sane push, sane presence, sane async and sync modes (mail and im w/server side archiving) end to end encryption, and some form of trust or other way to mitigate spam. I'm guessing it'll be json based with perhaps swappable transport. Probably should be encapsulated in message-level authenticated encryption. And it'll probably be another five years before we see it realized.
The author of Conversations recently wrote up the state of XMPP in 2016: https://gultsch.de/xmpp_2016.html
So, though you may not be using it anymore, XMPP is far from a dead end.
[ed: submitted that to hn, as I'm sure many people would be interested in an update on XMPP from someone that actually works with XMPP implementations:
Oh right, I didn't know they have my whole Android address book before. I recommend you to download the data Facebook has about you (they don't give all, but a fair amount) https://www.facebook.com/help/302796099745838
I was actually surprised at the sheer amount of my personal life contained in that file.
It is Apache wave. And nothing is dead if a community wants it to be alive.
I really, really would like to see this happen, but if the past decade and a half is any indication, the ones taking over will be newer centralized, ad monetized systems. Most of the non-tech people don't care much about privacy or lock-in. I keep trying very often to explain to people why privacy is important and why platforms like FB/WhatsApp, etc., are not good. It's an uphill battle though, and most people don't get it or feel it's too much of a hassle to change their habits and that of the people in their networks.
Maybe that's an idea for an open source Android demo app - one that requests a certain set of (or all possible) permissions, and then simply displays the status of those permissions (granted/blocked).
I am an occasional user of Facebook Messenger, and using the mobile website was perfect: I don't care if notifications are delayed or even lost (I'll see the messages eventually anyway). But there's no way I'm going to install a separate app for something I use maybe once a week, tops.
If it stops working from the mobile website, then I just wait until I'm back at my computer to read fb messenges.
But I hope you can imagine why a chat team does care if a technology doesn't allow them to send timely and reliable notifications.
It is often better to have no feature than a bad feature. I've never used the mobile web messenger, but if it is unreliable, only works in a few browsers, it makes sense to remove the product.
Sure, that's why they have the app. But it's not a reason to completely turn off messaging from the website. Heck, they could even turn off chrome notifications completely and the website would still be completely functional.
1) you can never assume a recipient ever has their phone on, with them and in a non-silent mode
2) users can disable push notifications for individual apps anyway
That said, the reasons you mention are pretty edge cases. Instead of just hating on it, just stop and think about it for a moment without prejudice. When you email someone you don't expect them to read it immediately, but when you send a text you at least expect them to know they received something, no? (If you say no to this, I really have nothing else to say anymore, you would be just denying the reality) That's what Facebook wants to be. They're competing with SMS, not email.
Also, if they're supporting desktop clients I again call shenanigans on your argument.
I am amazed how many people on this thread are attacking me saying "Android Chrome supports push notification" when I said "Chrome doesn't support push on iOS". Are you even listening to what I say?
It's not that we don't hear you, it's that the reason you're in your position is because you're using a locked down platform that's trailing all other vendors in web technologies intentionally.
> Even if Chrome had push notification on iOS
This is what I said. And this applies to rest of the paragraph. Also open standard has absolutely nothing to do with this, and that was exactly my point. You guys think just because it's open standard it's all open and good, but my point was it is not. The reality is Google and Apple are effectively duopoly when it comes to anything push notification related (GCM is the gatekeeper for Android, APNS is the gatekeeper for iOS). So it doesn't matter if a technology is open standard, it wouldn't even matter if it was completely open source. The reality is your push MUST go through either Apple or Google.
Facebook has already implemented this. It is in use today on mobile web. If Safari on iOS (which powers "Chrome" on iOS) is updated to support the Push API tomorrow it will start working. Facebook has already implemented it.
As for the rest we're not even talking about web at all. Back to your original post:
> The web (html documents fetched via http requests) were not built with mobile devices in mind, especially websockets. In the mobile era, all messaging is based on push notifications which must go through the device vendor (APNS or GCM), and trying to support the legacy tech in this landscape is just not worth it.
"Legacy tech" isn't necessary to support push notifications on web. Yes, Safari on iOS is woefully outdated for now (which again is what powers "Chrome" on iOS). But it is currently supported on Android (across multiple browsers), soon Windows, and it's possible Safari on iOS will add support in the future https://onesignal.com/blog/when-will-web-push-be-supported-i... Facebook is already using this today.
I work for a living and carry a work phone that is managed due to compliance requirements. I could pop on Facebook and check the occasional message. Facebook makes the mobile web experience as user hostile as possible, but it's sort of works. Now I'm stuck, as are about 20,000 of my coworkers.
FB is a real lightning rod topic.
Says you. I'm perfectly happy not knowing about my FB messages until I go look for them. I DON'T WANT them pushed to me. If they want to send me something that needs to be read quickly, use email. Or gasp phone/text/whatsapp (I use the latter begrudgingly because whatsapp has pretty much replaced texting in lots of Europe).
Except native apps aren't the future :/
I've never had a Facebook app on any of my phones and I will never install one.
Worth pointing out: Luckily, my phone came without Facebook apps preinstalled, so I had the choice of seeing what Facebook wants to access. Other people don't even have that chance since it comes preinstalled in most of the cases.
Also I'm on iOS so I can deny access to Gps/location/camera/mic and there's no way to access my message history.
Thanks for the reply though!
This does not change my mind about banning all Facebook apps from my devices, it just means even less Facebook for me.
They changed it on FB, not in people’s phones.
Judging by your comments you're not going to use the app period. You can just say so instead of creating artificial reasons which don't hold true for you anyways.
Doesn't seem to work on mobile tho
Did you try the Android "Request Desktop Site" checkbox?
Edit: just saw that Zem says that works: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11835060
Edit 2: Jeswin says it isn't useable: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11834996
I'm currently not that dependent on Messenger since most people just text or call me anyway. The rest of Facebook I usually avoid anyway as it's in a different wavelength than I am.
And on my old phone (a venerable HTC Desire HD), Facebook's decision to make me install Messenger in addition to the regular app some time ago was the turning point from low latency and good user experience to overall lag in the phone.
If you're serious about this, you're going to also want to remove any non-FB contact information for users (email, phone number) that might be displayed, because I guarantee you that rather than installing Messenger that's what I'm going to use if you let me.
And really, if you're going to be so blatantly user hostile, it makes sense to really be thorough about it.
For instance businesses need to start evaluating if they really require a Facebook presence. The users that can reach you on Facebook are obnoxious, and expects 24/7 feedback. Unless you are a small niche business you're simply not able to build sufficient community around your Facebook page for it to help further your business. For medium and large companies Facebook is just a place for customers to complain and win prices.
As the company I work for has expanded and become less and less niche we seeing decreasing user engagement from our customers on Facebook, unless they can win a price. At this point marketing really should evaluate the continued need for maintaining a Facebook page, it's just becoming a third support channel, but one where peoples expectations are simply to high, in terms of response time.
Honestly, why is companies like Coca Cola or Volvo on Facebook, it make zero sense when you think about it.
There was a period about 5 years ago when every company in the world thought they needed to have Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn and so on. It was a serious case of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) as opposed to a genuine business case for social media.
I suspect we're going to see small and medium companies take a view that maintaining a presence on social media is still not generating ROI. As a result they'll consolidate to fewer social media platforms and perhaps at some point none at all.
If SMEs (or SMBs as they're known in the US) take this approach, big companies will slowly follow I'm sure.
The "social network" generation is maturing enough to know better than using social networks, and the new generation considers them lame and apparently prefer more discreet methods of communication and socializing.
FB(the platform), Twitter and the rest, are slowly finding their place as news aggregators and celebrity/corp point of presence.
As for FB, the company, I just hope they keep giving us amazing tools like RocksDB and React.
The last time that happened was when the users were the customers. But users don't want to pay for anything anymore.
FB is the Great Mall of the Internet, people don't really care if it sucks because it's just a place where people are. Many don't even have a concept of websites sucking.
Sounds like you have a bad case of "back in my day"-itis.
I could not find the log out button in iOS Messenger, and the only way to do that seems to be logging in to fb.com and hitting a button there which will deactivate your phone session.
I once had a (protracted) debate with one of their earliest product designers who defended the decision unconditionally. His arguments were—more or less—"it's better for the user". If instead it was simply "it's going to improve our bottom line" I'd not have given much of a second thought. It's just changes like this that they attempt to spin as positive to their users that drive me crazy.
ETA: found the convo from August 2014 and pasted below. Note this is when they first disabled within the app (and you could start the download to trick it into letting you continue).
> Me: Jared, i get that they want to encourage adoption of the standalone app -- probably for some business purpose, now that they're publicly traded -- but why cripple existing functionality just to obtain that goal? make it annoying so that you have to dismiss the "upgrade" comment .. fine. the only reason i can see is profit, which is fine/just own it, but people are masquerading this as a good product decision for users which i disagree with (obviously).
> Jared: A force is rarely a good product decision. That engenders distrust, and certainly they did not predict the frustration that would occur.
I whole heartedly believe the standalone application is better.
I believe Facebook took a calculated risk, but not a disingenuous one, and not one targeted at making money, one of the form of 'you won't know how to fly unless I push you out of the nest and then, woah, how much you'll thank me' and their convictions, which were backed by engagement data, were unable to actually test the event of "forcing the change". The reaons I belive they took the risk were to minimize ongoing development of a duplicative codebase and achieve engineering focus.
Now, with similar information to Facebook, I ask myself what would I do - would I recall the change with a more transitional approach (e.g. 60 days until install)? Or your friend sent you a sticker / selfie / audio file, to view use the new messenger app? It's a tough question and I pose it back to you, what would you do?
So maybe the standalone app is actually NOT better for the user. :)
I'm curious what people prefer about the web chat version?
The mobile web version gave me everything that I needed when using FB - checking some occasional updates, messages and people posting baby pics. Nothing that requires a separate app, and nothing that requires an app, esp since you need to be connected to the internet to see anything. I really don't see (from my perspective) the point of any FB app.
The mobile view was awesome for me. This move blows. Since the messaging is still available on the desktop browser version, this literally means zero extra development time.
Did anyone really think that would be used for a good purpose, instead of just rampantly abused?
I don't want any Facebook apps on my phone due to privacy and tracking reasons, and so I used the web view (with an app wrapper like Tinfoil with location disabled), now I won't be able to send messages any longer.
Guess I won't be using Messenger any longer.
I have my doubts about it on iOS but at least the app permissions work properly there.
Facebook as "facebook" is useful and fun, and a way to connect with people and share stuff. Facebook as "messenger" is phone service. It's infrastructure that's part of your life. It's part of direct human contact. It's way too risky to trust to an entity like Facebook (or Google).
If these companies had "invented" email, we'd been set back decades. Just look at how badly MS manages to preform as a netcitizen with Exchange and Outlook (for no good technical reason). Without the network effect and competition that the open email standards push, we'd all be faxing print-outs between hobbled messaging silos.
I mean, we're still using SMS. SMS! Because the big boys couldn't agree to just have user@facebook talk to user@outlook and user@google or user@apple in a sane way! Both FB and Google even had XMPP going for a while, but didn't even federate with each other. It's as if Gmail suddenly stopped accepting external mail (not that their magic black holing isn't annoying enough to work around as it is).
I really hope RCS will catch on in the future, but there are extra obstacles in addition of all these competing corporate silos of this happening - carriers. Depressing.
* It takes up zero phone memory. Yes, this is still an issue on really cheap Android phones. 
* It takes up zero phone resources, unlike the Facebook app, which is known for slowing down your entire phone. 
* The messenger app wants to send me notifications about stupid things and collect personal data using its over-broad permissions. I don't trust Facebook, and I'm not a tinfoil hat type.
* I don't want another chat ecosystem in my life, but if someone does message me on Facebook, I'd like to be able to see it on my phone without having to install an idiotic, resource-sapping, spyware app.
I really, really don't want a "good" Facebook chat solution. People want to chat with me, they can use Skype, Google Hangouts, or Slack. Or just send me an email and we can talk on the phone.
If I'm not using it, it's using no resources. When I'm using it, then duh, it uses transient resources in Chrome, but when I close the tab, it's back to zero. If I end up using it once every two months, the amortized resource usage is probably 0.1% of an app that needs to receive push notifications.
>Messenger is not a just another chat ecosystem, it is THE chat ecosystem.
Shill much? I just tried to check to see how many people had even tried to contact me in the last year on Messenger, and it looks like I've received about 5 messages in 12 months. But it's hard to tell, because the web app keeps crashing/locking up. No other chat ecosystem I'm connected to behaves that poorly.
If you're using it with all your friends, have a blast. Just don't expect me to respond quickly if you message me; email on my secondary email account would be faster. When I checked just now I found a message that I hadn't noticed and that had sat, unanswered, for 9 months. Not the best way to get a hold of me.
>What makes you think Google, Microsoft and the Slack teams intentions are more "pure" than Facebook?
Nothing. But Hangouts is on my (Android) phone and in my life anyway. Skype is what business contacts seem to always want to use; I swear it has a 99.9% market penetration for companies that do remote work or hire remote workers. Skype also has awesome Skype-to-phone calling, including 3-way calls, that works great with my high quality microphone and speakers, so I can talk hands free and everyone can understand me well. And Slack is ideal for group and work-team hangouts.
Why would I buy into another ecosystem? Just so that I can install yet another app on my phone and on my desktop? I am very reachable by email. If you know my name, you can likely find a contact email for me within 15 minutes. If someone doesn't have my email address and doesn't care enough to put in 2-15 minutes of "research" to find it, I'm not sure if I care whether they can easily contact me. And if they must use Messenger, well, I'm sure I'll see their message eventually.
>as much as you like to think your special, no one cares what you, yourself do.
I'll just leave these here:
Many of these focus on government access to information, but many times companies have just handed over anything the government has asked for without a fight. Facebook absolutely is watching me along with billions of other people. No, no one at Facebook cares, but they're compiling a huge dossier on practically everyone on the planet. So is Google, but I believe that Google at least tries to Do No Harm. And I don't use Gmail as my primary mail service, either -- I also use Duck Duck Go for most of my searches.
I just think it's not healthy for any one company to have too much information about everyone. Makes an oppressive government's job too easy, if one should arise coughTrumpcough.
Perhaps because the web version is not limited to the proprietary runtime of a single operating system.
Yes, most devices support the abstract concept of a messenger app, but they each have their own runtimes and APIs that the app must be written for. Writing a web version supports a huge number of clients in a single pass.
Facebook can sync with your contacts and make a huge jumbled mess
Facebook app drains battery
Facebook app demands elevated privileges that it shouldn't need
Facebook may or may not be listening to your microphone
Hah, if only it were that easy. When viewing messages in Chrome for Android, I get redirected to Messenger on the Play Store when I close the overlay. Then the Play Store opens again when I tap on a conversation.
Screw you, Facebook.