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Facebook disabling messaging in its mobile web app to push people to Messenger (techcrunch.com)
568 points by prostoalex on June 4, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 496 comments

This is kind of convenient; it gives me one more excuse not to use facebook. A few days ago I got the usual notification email that somebody had sent me a message on FB. Clicking is a low barrier so I clicked, curiously. Then I instead got the "No, now you have to install Messenger app" screen. That was enough of a barrier that I said "oh forget it, who cares, anybody who knows me would know better than to send me an FB message anyway, if it matters they'll get in touch via a 'real' communications medium like email, text, or phone"

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.

I see it the opposite way. Using Messenge could give you a great way to use facebook without subjecting yourself to the News Feed Giant Tentacled Monster.

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?

I'm just gonna go ahead and mention [messenger.com](https://www.messenger.com/) for anyone who agrees with you and doesn't know about it. It's essentially the messenger app in the browser, so you can access your Facebook messages without even coming across the news feed, any ads, etc.

All I get is a big ad to install the app from Google Play.

messenger.com is for desktop only. On mobile, the Facebook Messenger app is standalone -- you don't need the Facebook app to use it.

Use “Request Desktop Site” in Chrome, or another app such as Hermit to use Messenger on Android through the browser.

There's a ton of reasons to not use Messenger.

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.

Most of these sound like reasons not to use Facebook in general.

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.

It seems unlikely they'd bring the encryption in. I often have several messengers open. My phone, my tablet, my home desktop, my home laptop, my other home laptop, my work desktop, my work laptop. How will encrypting like Whatsapp keep that working? Some how they'll always be tunneling to my phone from all the various machines?

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

I'm waiting for the next chat service to emulate the 'ytalk' and 'talkd' practice of the 1980s to echo all keystrokes to the other party as they're typed, rather than waiting for the user to press send.

"Instant Messaging" indeed!


There's a nice XMPP extension for that.

Spec: https://xmpp.org/extensions/xep-0301.html Demos: http://www.realjabber.org/

Not that Google (or whoever) are going to implement it now...

> 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.

This is why Facebook is best used in an incognito-mode browser window.

[This is about desktop browser use]

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 know of a modern chat app that doesn't have [the seen indicator].

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.

Problems of Messenger App (and not Facebook company): 1. Can't log out 2. Can't turn off the 'online' indicator 3. 'Seen' indicator

You can turn the seen indicators off in iMessage, fwiw.

>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.

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.

You appear to have no problem with a company building up a profile of your likes and dislikes, so they can try and sell stuff to you. That's fine. Why expect that of others, though?

Because it is overwhelmingly what they deliver. The very edgiest of the edgy use Telegram 1-2% of the time. Exactly one person in my social network installed Signal and he gave up on it after about 2 days. No one would dream of touching GPG. The .5% of the time an email address does not end in @gmail.com, it is a Google Apps account.

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).

Am I the only person who is totally fine with just texting people? I mean, given this is HN, maybe all of you people use Android and have no idea how amazing iMessage is.

Regular SMS is among the least secure communication mechanisms available. I trust Facebook a thousand times more than Verizon.

iMessage is nice, but many of the people I converse with regularly aren't in the Apple ecosystem.

I mean, you're not wrong there, but personally I'd rather have my private conversations in the hands of Verizon than Facebook. Facebook actually sees the value in the private conversations and tries to monetize it. Verizon, on the other hand, has bigger fish to fry.

I'd rather give my conversations to a company that sees storing/processing messages as a liability, rather than an asset.

1. This is ubiquitous among chat apps. 2. This is not likely to remain the case for long, among rumors Messenger is adding end-to-end encryption. 3. There is no evidence they analyze messages for ads. Zero. All attempts to prove this have been disproven. 4. This is not an argument.

I was answering the question "Why not use Messenger?"

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.

Your "opinion" that Facebook analyzes Messenger text for ads is an unsubstantiated myth, and factually incorrect.

It is not factually incorrect. Sure, nobody could prove it with certainty, but you can't just dismiss it like that.

...Especially when you're trying to convince someone who saw it with their own two eyes.

5. Accesses and mines your phone book. (My rolodex is my business and no way FB or LI are getting it direct from me.)

I'm interested as to why someone like yourself, a likely tech-savvy HN user, the kind of person who notices how their chats effect ad serving, does not block ads on facebook. Care to share?

The ads are also embedded in the News Feed itself, in the form of "friend X likes Y page" and the like. I'd imagine it would require an ad blocker specifically designed for Facebook to block it. Same goes for the sidebar.

I don't use Facebook enough to care; uBlock Origin suits my needs just fine.

The embedded ads in the News Feed can also be blocked by a extension like uBlock Origin. The additional filter is found from ABP, if I recall.

Good to know, thanks.

Adblocking wouldn't address any of the four points that pikachu_is_cool raised.

For point 3, Facebook could still be analyzing the contents of messages.

Yah, I agree. But I'm still surprised that a adblocker/tracker blocker isn't used by that kind of individual.

An adblocker just treats the symptoms. I'd rather just not have the disease :)

> you have to bother to think up a good message to send them

Soon you may not have to! https://googleblog.blogspot.sg/2016/05/allo-duo-apps-messagi...

I'd never trust installing their apps on my phone. The Facebook app admittedly listens to the microphone. So Facebook messages will largely become a black hole for me too.

The counterpoint is that I know heavy FB users (myself included) who have opted to just install Messenger on their phones, essentially being able to get rid of FB on the phone, to limit distractions but keep the nice communication

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?


The rationale that Facebook is using is chat isn't chat anymore, chat is a platform. You have Line/QQ/WeChat to thank for that. Cut the edges to funnel into the "core", and soup it up with platform features to compete with China.

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.

As a westerner, WeChat was one of the coolest apps I encountered living in China.

That said, we should probably consider all of these platforms harmful. I've migrated (and been pressuring my connections to migrate) to Telegram.org

But Telegram is still based on another proprietary, centralized server. I don't see how this solves anyone's problems.

> just install Messenger...to limit distractions

Interesting. I have been much happier since killing the Fb app'a notification and badge permissions.

> 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?

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.

I don't use Facebook at all, though I have an account. Messenger is perfect for me because I only care about the [very rare] chances that someone sends me a message on Facebook. These have always been friends or family that I haven't talked to in a while, actually! And they don't always have my phone or email address...

I'm also in the "Messenger-only" camp aside from college events before I graduated. Messenger is honestly handy and fun but most importantly for me everyone is on it and active. It's simply the best way to reach someone for me.

The simple reason I do all the communication I can on FBM is that I know it won't get lost in some spam filter.

I came across these articles a while ago and decided to check my filtered messages just out of curiosity. I hardly ever use fb anymore so I didn't expect to find anything. Lo and behold though, there was a two year old message from my best friend from elementary school who I had lost touch with forever ago. Lesson learned: don't trust Facebook with anything important, they'll fuck it up even if it's one of their core features.

It seems to have become even more cumbersome and confusing in the recent times. FB does not indicate that there may be message requests or filtered messages (even from "friends") waiting to be examined. It seems pointless when you see a message very late and wonder how it could even be missed. FB's message system cannot be trusted with the lack of notifications about these.

hopefully you have control over the data Messenger (and every other app) with something like Xprivacy.

There's a cost to using the free Messenger service [1]. They also want to make it into WeChat.

It's inconvenient that they got rid of their XMPP compatible backend so they could lock us into their privacy destroying app ecosystem.

Fortunately, vendor lock-in breeds resentment and dissidents. Hopefully, a better alternative will come from this.

so you never ever use FB on the desktop ? You can still read messages there. I have quite a lot of international friends on FB of whom i don't have a phone number but use Messenger to communicate. Of course, i could try to find out their skype/email but the endresult would be the same, just more hassle to get there. With WhatsApp and Messenger i can pretty much reach anyone i know right now, but i could remove the regular FB app from my phone though.

I didn't even know that it still worked on desktop! This shows that although it's not true that I /never/ use FB on the desktop it's very rare. This is because I never go to FB just to check out FB; I go to FB because a notification email piqued my interest. And I do read my emails almost exclusively on the phone.

The trick is to keep only "facebook.com/messages" in your history (or bookmarks if you use that). That way the browser autocomplete from your history and you get directly to the messages.

Just use http://messenger.com then

Wow, sure is ashamed of themselves, hiding their name from the messenger homepage

>know when people have seen your messages

Oh cool, they brought over the thing that made me completely stop using Facebook!

I don't want to know a trick. My point was that FB has unwittingly added a "feature" that helps me do something I want, which is minimize FB usage. Think of say, HN's noprocrast option. It would be crazy for FB to introduce such a thing, but that's what they've done for me here! No way am I going to try to disable it!

All of the emails Facebook sends are in a folder called "SpammySaaS," together with all of sales reps trying to cut me sweet deals on their company's CI/CD.

I use Messenger mostly because it's the only app that's actually achieved quorum amongst people who I talk to.

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.

I never mentioned morality, what do you mean?

Yeah, you did.

> 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 still not seeing it. Where did I mention morality in there? Or rather, I know I didn't -- so where do you see it? Do you think that most people decide whether or not to use a website based on moral reasons, as opposed to more boring practical ones?

So rather than fixing the problems that result in users messaging via the mobile web app instead of the messenger app, they're just going to "solve" the problem by forcing users to use the messenger app? This is why Facebook as a company doesn't have high levels of consumer trust. This will bite them in the future. Once you lose that level of trust it is extremely difficult to gain back.

I suspect it's less about solving problems and more about breaking out of that web browser sandbox to siphon up more of that juicy, juicy data.

Apologies, my computer mouse malfunctioned and I downvoted you while swapping between windows, and I felt so bad about doing so I feel compelled to comment :(

And I actually agree with you...

Well, I did not intent to vote that post, but now I upvoted it just to undo your mistake.

He agreed with him so I just upvoted his post to give him back the upvote he meant.

Replying to a comment removes your vote on it, so you've given an extra upvote :)

I have always found it surprising that someone may honestly think that upvoting and downvoting can be used to express agreement or disagreement. If you strongly agree or disagree, just reply with a post of your own; up/downvoting is there so you could express your opinion on the quality of the post rather than whether you think that what it is saying is true or false.

Paul Graham, who started HN, is one of those people: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=117171 . Generally, HN strongly discourages "me too" or "i agree" type comments. We prefer to just upvote comments in order to keep discussion threads interesting and on-topic.

It's pretty much upvote to agree, downvote if it doesn't contribute.

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

Isn't that the recipe for an echo chamber?

More likely it's about getting more immediate attention from push notifications.

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.

Text messaging is enormous and it is going to get a lot bigger as companies monetize it with service and retail chatbots. The competition is fierce and although Facebook has the best position, it is not written anywhere that it will remain in that position forever. It's crucial to get the experience right, and you do yourself no favors by distributing your user base and developer resources across multiple platforms.

Sadly, yes. I'd (somewhat) happily run the Messenger app if its permissions were saner. What does it really need? Internet, for sure. Storage, ok. Camera and Location are fairly reasonable. Microphone only because it goes along with Camera.

But it also has Identity, Contacts, SMS, Phone, and a host of others. Do not want.

Yep. Thank god for runtime permissions, at least.

Like those controlled in the iOS Privacy Setting page?

Yeah we now finally have them on android too in marshmallow

Heard of messenger.com ?

Facebook blocks Messenger.com for mobile browser user agents; you need to spoof your UA if you want to use it on mobile. (Some of the Facebook app wrappers can do this for you.)

If you spoof the UA, you can also use the main Facebook website on mobile. Messenger.com might be less cluttered though.

Btw: that works with mobile Firefox. (I originally used it instead of chrome, mostly because it supports ad blocking on unrooted devices.)

Interesting, Asana does that too. And I would rather not use their app...

Which ones? Tinfoil doesn't seem to at the moment.

I believe "Metal" does on the Android side, not sure about iOS.

venmo.com does the same thing.

"Users were messaging via the web frontend, so we fixed the glitch."

And we were doing it because Facebook was pushing their messenger app, when the normal Facebook app handled it just fine.

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.

You can actually view messages on the mobile web app (or you could earlier today, anyway). On my phone, clicking on messages tells me to download messenger. If I ignore that and hit all messages, it nags again, but eventually does it.

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.

I actually liked that I could use a messenger app without all the rest of the stuff that I never used. But I think they split it back then because they wanted to have something more similar to whatsapp (which wasn't theirs yet) - They apparently let you use a phone number to log to messenger too.

I really wish I could fix all bugs at my workplace like that.

It will just work itself out naturally.

I'm not a FB fanboy or anything, but sometimes it is a good choice to free yourself from legacy tech burden and build for the future. 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.

Yeah, first they threw out xmpp, so I couldn't use my preffered messaging app, then they kill messaging in the web view, forcing me to give up messaging or move to their messaging app, with intrusive permissions. This after they've soundly established that they don't respect users, with how they mangled addressbooks with an earlier version of the fb app.

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.

I still use XMPP to connect to google talk and converse with people who are using hangouts. I use "Conversations" on Android, which works well and also supports OMEMO (the XMPP version of the encryption behind Signal/Whatsapp/etc). I'm effectively doing the equivalent of your facebook+xmpp+otr setup today, but it's googlechat+xmpp+omemo.

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.

I thought Google had killed off all XMPP access too. Thanks for the heads up. Of course, everyone I communicate with who doesn't just use email and/or sms/phone are on Facebook (and Snapchat) - but few if any use hangouts. But it's nice to know that if I go back to using XMPP, I can at least point people towards hangouts. Until Allo takes over anyway...

[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:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11837466 ]

> how they mangled addressbooks with an earlier version of the fb app

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.

Please stop calling it google wave.

It is Apache wave. And nothing is dead if a community wants it to be alive.

Apologies, I remember it as Google Wave - but you are right it has evolved, and Apache Wave captures the idea that it is indeed an open platform. And while I agree that the technology isn't dead, I don't think it (the protocol) is likely to be what ~7 billion people (or how many now has a phone number) will use to communicate across network providers, carriers, device manufactures and content silos. I think it is dead as an alternative in that sense.

> 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.

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.

The Facebook app on Android actually works fine without any special permissions. If you disable them all via the new methods in Marshmallow, it just continues trucking on. Of course they'll never stop asking for the extra permissions, but its functionality is pretty equivalent to the mobile site even with no intrusive permissions.

The Facebook app is a memory hog though, and was causing UI lag in other apps on my phone. I have very little idea how it was doing that, but when I removed it, the lag stopped.

I uninstalled the Facebook Messenger app about 3 months ago when I saw a news article about how it devoured battery on Android, because I was having battery life problems at the time.

I just removed Messenger in favor of the Facebook Lite app, which can be found on APK mirror sites if Google Play doesn't offer it. There does seem to be a significant improvement in idle battery drain.

Good to know. I've yet gotten around to trying this out (just recently upgraded to a Marshmellow phone), I feared it was install > grant permssions > optionally revoke permissions. And I wasn't ready to try that with an app that came out of fb, given their track record.

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).

Chrome has perfectly acceptable push notification support.

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.

> I don't care if notifications are delayed or even lost

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.

The mobile Facebook website worked fine with messages. You could see whether there were new messages and you could read them and reply to them. You could even chat a bit albeit not as conveniently as on a laptop or a messaging app such as Hangouts or Whatsapp. But it was just enough to keep you connected when needed.

More likely the chat team couldn't read your contacts through your web browser and decided to do something about it.

> 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.

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.

Safari doesn't though :/

I'll assume, by Chrome you mean desktop Chrome. This is irrelevant to my comment. I was specifically talking about realtime push notifications via mobile devices. Also remember that your preference is just your preference, many people would want to be able to make sure their messages get seen in realtime. And Facebook probably wants that for their users too. Again, I'm not saying this is a good thing. I'm just saying it's not an illogical decision. You are free to complain but it would be stupid for Facebook to keep going this way just so they can support the legacy technology.

Chrome on Android does support real-time push notifications. I know because I was notified of a friend's Facebook post I was mentioned in within 5 seconds of my friend posting it. I don't have Facebook installed on my phone, and he posted it from his phone while my phone was face up on the table between us and we both where surprised at how fast I was notified.

Con confirm. Worked with real time push notifications via Service Workers in Chrome myself.

Please read my other comments on this thread. Basically just because Android supports it doesn't mean it's all good since iOS doesn't. Also the "open web" you think you have on Chrome is not really that open as you think if you think about the entire mobile ecosystem landscape.

Android Chrome supports push notifications, even when the browser is not loaded.

I keep saying this in every comment I made on this thread, but I'm talking about the entire mobile ecosystem. Who cares if Android Chrome supports it, iOS doesn't. Which means it's not a 100% coverage. Just by letting this happen you are providing a low quality service to not just the iOS users but also the Android users, since there will be an assumption that the recipient doesn't always get the message in realtime. If you want to send that kind of messages, there is always email. Messaging apps are built on assumptions that people know the other person receives push immediately.

I call shenanigans for two reasons:

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

For some reason I feel like I have become some sort of FB defender, but I am not. Just to be clear, I am not a fan of FB. I even completely got rid of my FB account a year ago because I got sick of fake interactions on the site and have never looked back. I am happy with communicating with close people just via text and other special purpose communication apps.

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, SMS is not guaranteed to reach the recipient in any reasonable timeframe.

Also, if they're supporting desktop clients I again call shenanigans on your argument.

Mobile web is an edge case, too.


Many of the (non-techie) people I know have Whatsapp push notifications disabled, because otherwise there are way too many of them.

Chrome and Firefox currently support push notifications with GCM https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/API/Push_API and this is a standard API other vendors are free to implement

As far as I know it's not supported on iOS. Even if Chrome had push notification on iOS I can't think of any logical reason to build a push notification inside Chrome if I were Facebook. You think Chrome is open web, but it's not. It's an app built by Google. If Facebook were to depend on Chrome push notification (which by the way doesn't even exist but for the sake of discussion let's say it does hypothetically), it would mean it's depending on Google on both Android and iOS which means when it comes to mobile Facebook MUST go through Google 100% of the time. You may say they can use Firefox, but for the same reason, why would they add one more layer of gatekeeper just to let their users communicate? You need to realize this "open web" concept is not really open anymore when it comes to mobile.

What you're saying is just factually incorrect. It is an open standard https://w3c.github.io/push-api/ currently supported by both Firefox and Chrome. Microsoft has also started implementing it in Edge https://twitter.com/jacobrossi/status/735153689501958144. Additionally, Facebook already uses it today.

Tell me what's factually incorrect about "Chrome doesn't support push on iOS". Want me to spell it out for you? Here: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/34588506/ios-web-notifica...

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?

Every browser on iOS is just Safari with different UI (by order of Apple). No one else even could implement push notifications into their browser because only Apple has that control.

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.

Yes, the first sentence of your post was accurate. From there on it's completely false.

I'm not sure that's true; Facebook are keen users of serviceworkers and the Facebook web app provides push notifications on Chrome in Android using just that mechanism.

Why do people keep saying "Chrome supports push on Android" to criticize my comment which says "iOS chrome doesn't support push"? It feels like talking to a wall almost.

It's a paragraph long post. One sentence accurately says iOS Chrome (which is really Safari outside of Google's control with Chrome UI due to iOS restrictions) doesn't currently support push. The rest talks about it wouldn't make sense for Facebook to implement this (they already did), a rant about this being Google specific technology (it is not), and not being an open standard (it is).

Maybe you should go back and read again.

> 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.

> Even if Chrome had push notification on iOS I can't think of any logical reason to build a push notification inside Chrome if I were Facebook

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.

Sure. In my case that legacy burden is Facebook.

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.

It's really interesting to me how controversial contrarian opinions to Facebook actions are in this forum. The parent has bounced up and down vote wise quite a bit.

FB is a real lightning rod topic.

" In the mobile era, all messaging is based on push notifications "

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).

I'd agree with you if this was a company that actually sheds legacy tech gracefully, but Xcode can't handle our scale.

True story.

Except native apps aren't the future :/

JavaScript and the DOM certainly aren't.

I have no qualms using WhatsApp. It is a very efficient and useful app. They should probably merge messenger and WhatsApp (or maybe not lest they end up making WhatsApp bad too)

WhatsApp would never accept that. Their brand is a ton better than Messenger's is, for good reason.

I hope the bigwigs at FB don't read your comment. Messenger and whatsapp should never be merged. Part of the reason why I'm glad that Messenger is doing so well (I don't use it myself) it's because I believe that gives them less incentive to mess with whatsapp too much. It's very likely that they will fuck it up eventually but the longer it stays usable the better.

from what I understand, WhatsApp works in China and Messenger doesn't. So I doubt they'll merge. But it'd be nice if you could message from one to another

If fixing a chat app poses a problem to a billion dollar company, then we have bigger problems to worry about.

What data can yhet get from having messenger as an app rather than a website? They already have my list of contacts, all the messages I've sent, they can store my message as I type it through their website. I just don't understand!

Your GPS location (if you have it turned on), your SMS messages, your call logs, your phone's storage, your camera, your mic... Just read the permissions: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.facebook.o...

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.

But they have that data through their regular Facebook app (I wonder if that's next).

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!

That's exactly why many don't run the official Facebook either. There are third party apps using the web-interface meant to sandbox Facebook so they can't gather all information. Up until now those web-interfaces have also been able to use the chat though. And you can still do that with some quick apps made to work around this block by facebook.

And hopefully there will be more people who refuse to instal another messaging app.

Is there any source to confirm "Facebook as a company doesn't have high levels of consumer trust"? I even find hard to understand what consumer trust means in a precise way.

no.they need their users on messenger because they have big plans for that app. there are already businesses connecting with customers through messenger.

Well said

I dislike this change. I specifically only access Facebook on my phone via the web app because (1) it saves significant battery and (2) I absolutely do not want the popup bubbles during the work day from church and other social groups I am connected to on Facebook. Ultimately, all this means is that I will stop accessing Facebook Messenger on my phone all together. I will communicate with the people who matter most over the Signal app or plain old SMS or email.

Not to mention that Facebook has intentionally changed the email address of contacts in people's phones without asking them [0].

This does not change my mind about banning all Facebook apps from my devices, it just means even less Facebook for me.

[0] http://www.cnet.com/how-to/facebook-changed-your-e-mail-addr...!

I was bitten by a similar problem one of the very first versions of the FB app, and I haven't tried it again. It synced my Google Contacts (what I use as my canonical contacts list) with Facebook, resulting in duplicates and a whole bunch of mess that still isn't completely resolved years later. Now that I'm on Marshmallow, I might risk it, but I'm very hesitant to do so.

> Not to mention that Facebook has intentionally changed the email address of contacts in people's phones without asking them

They changed it on FB, not in people’s phones.

That's not true, the Facebook app was "syncing" local contacts with Facebook, and thus modifying them.

Oh I wasn’t aware of this "syncing" feature; I thought it had a read-only access to your contact, that’s all. Thanks.

That's not what the article says. They changed people's own listed emails on Facebook.com, no indication they changed anything on devices.

I wonder where that leaves the say 10% of users that use a browser because they are on an device that isn't supported by Messenger (obsolete Android, iPhone, Windows Phone, Blackberry, Fire, etc).

They are redirected to mbasic.facebook.com which still works. Most Android FB wrappers have used that as a workaround for now to still reach Messenger.

Thank you, this is the way to keep accessing messages in the browser. Deleting Messenger app again.

It's possible they could detect those devices and leave chat active in the web app.

Mob site still works on my blackberry

you can turn off the bubbles...

Tyranny of the defaults goes both ways; If you're software doesn't have sane defaults, I will search for another.

That's a very weak reason not to use the messenger. You're confirming that if you want to create a good app, you should not listen to complaining users.

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.

Sane defaults are a very good reason to decide to use an app. It's very common to reset user settings back to defaults during a "major" (or just marketing) upgrade of an app.

We may have very different samples but I'd be shocked to see that behavior in any app that I'd consider worth using. That would easily knock a couple stars off of my (mental or otherwise) rating of an app.

That's interesting, because from your comment history you're in favour of user-specified preferences: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11114154

That's not incompatible with having sane defaults though...

I am.

You have to sign in every single time on mobile web to get to their website, which is pretty much the only reason I use the apps - you stay signed in.

Protip: www.messenger.com works on computers.

Doesn't seem to work on mobile tho

> 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

This is a good work around. However I will not be relying on this. I'll just reduce my use of Messenger (and probably Facebook) all together.

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.

it's usable for me if you switch to desktop, but still go to m.facebook.com rather than www.facebook.com (easiest way is to go to facebook first and then switch to desktop). i'm guessing that whatever ajax call clicking on the message icon triggers gets a "this is a desktop" token attached to it even if you are visiting the site via m.facebook.com

I can confirm, go to facebook website, request the desktop version (messaging works there too) and go back to m.facebook.com, messages are there.

This. I installed the FB app a loooong time ago and was perfectly happy with occasionally checking the mobile website.

I use the facebook app quite a bit, and its never used more than a few precent of my battery in the battery stats on Android, and usually significantly less than my mail client(K-9 Mail) so I never understood the meme that the facebook app uses a ton of battery. Just having the screen on is going to use more battery than the facebook app.

"It turned out other Android services including Android system and Android OS showed reduced battery consumption when the Facebook app was uninstalled. Those services act as a buffer for many apps to the outside world when running in the background. So while Facebook didn’t look like it was using that much power, it was actually just being displayed elsewhere in Android’s statistics." From: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/feb/01/uninstall...

The final straw that pushed me to delete the app - thanks! Had already been living 95% free of Facebook by turning off push notifications anyway

YMMV, but on my phone (HTC One M8), Facebook is almost always the top battery user as shown in the Android battery usage report.

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.

I have a Nexus 5 and its never shown up as the top battery user, usually it's the actual phone app or the screen.

Just an FYI for any Facebook product geniuses who might be reading this thread:

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.

Eventually facebook will become so user hostile the network effect will mean that so many people are leaving it'll be like Digg and Myspace all over again. Can we go back to the time when companies tried to please users instead of advertisers?

I'm not a heavy Facebook user, so I may very well be wrong, but I think Facebook is slowly start to be less valuable in some respects.

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.

The big companies have got a Facebook/Twitter etc presence because their competitors have one. It's almost certainly a pain in the ass for them because as you mention customers will use it as a public platform to beat the company with when they're pissed off.

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.

Indeed! Though one example of a big company who has (notoriously) zero presence on any social networks would be Apple.

Not quite zero, a couple of months ago they launched a support channel on Twitter. https://twitter.com/AppleSupport

They also have some accounts for specific things, but no general Apple one. The support channel is about the closest to an official overall Apple account. The support channel seems to be pretty decent so far.

I think we are slowly going back to the time when social networks didn't exist.

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.

ie snapchat

I bet this was the decision made by the board members for the "share holder value" in attempts to increase earning per share via advertisement. Once the messenger gains enough users, it's obvious that there will be ads on FB messenger

> Can we go back to the time when companies tried to please users instead of advertisers?

The last time that happened was when the users were the customers. But users don't want to pay for anything anymore.

You mean like AOL? I haven't seen your vitriol since the last big FB redesign that even my aunt complained about, which was like what, 5 years ago? I even posted something to FB in the last few years, once it was apparent that FB had not done further obvious redesigns, "remember back when we all hated FB and were going to never use it again?" Nobody replied or liked it.

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.

Facebook is mostly politics and baby pictures for me, neither of which I care about, with the occasional important relationship announcement that I do care about, which is why I come back daily.

Has there ever been a time like that?

Sounds like you have a bad case of "back in my day"-itis.

Yup, before they were public.

Now it's going to be much harder to send messages from your friend's phone when your phone dies. Before you could use an incognito tab, and now you have to log out of the Messenger app entirely and log in as another user.

Thank you for bringing up this point - I've often thought about it before, but I didn't immediately think of the connection here. Just another reason why these kinds of changes are a bad idea. It might not be that often that you're without your device (battery died, stolen, forgotten), but when that happens not having a great fallback is really annoying. This goes for all kinds of apps and services, not just fb messaging.

It doesn't seem like you can even log out anymore inside the iOS Messenger app. My wife was without her phone a few weeks ago and needed to message someone via FB.

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.

Use messenger.com

Facebook's forced migration of their users from basic, functional chat is, in my opinion, more frustrating than any single decision they've made to date (perhaps second to platform risk materializing to those businesses built on top of them).

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?

If FB's claim that the standalone app is "it's better for the user" is true, then there should be no need to disable the previous functionality, since users would naturally have flocked to it as FB has been gently nudging them.

So maybe the standalone app is actually NOT better for the user. :)

"better for the user" does not mean "better for EVERY user". A product team has to prioritize. I hate the permissions demanded by messenger, but for me it is nicer to use than the mobile site.

I'm curious what people prefer about the web chat version?

The web version has no obnoxious notifications (yeah I know you can block them), but the big reason for me is that it's unable to access your contact list, text messages, photo gallery, camera, microphone and GPS. I don't want to share that information with Facebook/5 Eyes.

I stopped using the FB App back in 2014 when the upgrade required a whole heap of additional permissions - the ones you mention. It then forced the update along with separating out the Messenger app.

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.


I don't use the apps of some things because the web versions ended up being faster (plus less space on the phone). In my case Messenger ended up being one of the few apps that I opted for ( chat bebles on Android are amazing UI) but...

I have nothing against the Messenger app per se, but my phone's storage space and RAM is limited. I can't have all the apps installed I would like, and often find myself having to uninstall the apps that I use less frequently, even if I do use them sometimes (part of the problem could be solved by rooting the phone, but I'm lazy). So Facebook forcing me to install a new app (in my case back in 2014, as I don't really like the mobile web version) felt like a big FU from them, especially taking into account that their primary app is already a memory and battery hog (the most resource-consuming app in my phone).

"the user" can be such an abstract nonsense term. Collectivizing the individual desires of a multitude of users into some imaginary entity.

They only put that spin on it because it works. If they didn't do it, they'd seriously hurt for it in the press and in the court of public opinion. Every company does it. Until people savvy up, they're getting exactly what they deserve.

Just because people are dumb about something doesn't mean they deserve to be taken advantage of. We're all dumb about one thing or another.

This is hostile as fuck. Just clicking on the Messages icon on the mobile website launches Google Play Store.

The amount of stupid hacks I have to go through to make Android usable is making me consider trying out iPhone.

While I agree in general and prefer iOS, in this particular case that's a bit of an odd statement. On iOS you couldn't fix this behavior at all - the "stupid hack" won't exist.

That's why Android is winning. The easy things are easy and the hard things are possible.


I don't get why launching play store from browser is even possible.

Did anyone really think that would be used for a good purpose, instead of just rampantly abused?

yes, to add a link to an app from a webpage.

I'm talking about web pages that instantly open the play store with no possibility of user intervention.

I know every time a post about Facebook makes it to the front page here people say they don't use Facebook anymore but as a heavy Facebook user I am so fucking glad I blocked all Facebook domains last week. I feel liberated! This move would have quite ecked me but nope! Fuck you Facebook.

Congratulations! I've tried that before, but have relapsed after a few months.

This announcement coming on the same day as the post about Facebook not using the microphone in the app seems strange to me.

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.

You can disable microphone access for Messenger app. I disable everything and only enable them when needed.

I assume you must be on Android 6.0? Some (most) of us are still on older phones without that functionality.

Ah you're right. I'm on iOS.

Exactly. Facebook Messenger on Android is basically malware.

I have my doubts about it on iOS but at least the app permissions work properly there.

Folio and Swipe for Facebook use mbasic.facebook.com and are being actively worked on.

It's a loosing game to use "open" web solutions to provide a third party application to these silos. Twitter already killed themselves this way (they're just too big to die quickly), and I think facebook will too.

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 agree completely with you on this matter and this change will probably bring me back to using SMS and email more.

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.

Yup. I wonder what Google could do in this space.


As far as I can gather from Google.io, build another silo with RCS technology?

So much complaining. The web app version is crap, of course they want to move people over to the app. Why waste resources on an inferior web version when they can focus their attention on the very successful mobile app. Its just good business sense and seeing that 99.9999999999% of Facebook users already have Messenger installed, its a non issue.

The web app version has a whole lot of features that the installed app doesn't:

* It takes up zero phone memory. Yes, this is still an issue on really cheap Android phones. [0]

* It takes up zero phone resources, unlike the Facebook app, which is known for slowing down your entire phone. [1]

* 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.

[0] http://www.gsmarena.com/samsung_galaxy_core_prime-6716.php

[1] http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/207468

Takes up zero memory and resources, that must be some magical web app. Notifications, they can be turned off. Messenger is not a just another chat ecosystem, it is THE chat ecosystem. The messenger app is not resource intensive, it works fine. What makes you think Google, Microsoft and the Slack teams intentions are more "pure" than Facebook? Facebook is not spying on you, as much as you like to think your special, no one cares what you, yourself do.

>Takes up zero memory and resources, that must be some magical web app.

Sarcasm much?

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.


This comment crosses into personal attack, which is not allowed here. Please read the site guidelines and edit the nasty bits out of your posts in the future.



> Why waste resources on an inferior web version when they can focus their attention on the very successful mobile app.

Perhaps because the web version is not limited to the proprietary runtime of a single operating system.

I would think most phones support a messenger app. Except if you have a really old or bare phone, but then it might not even support internet?

There are many devices that are not smartphones.

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.

Seriously, I am surprised by how out of touch most people on HN are. I'm 23 and everyone I know uses this app, and it's pretty good. One of the main reasons people use it is that you can type in the name of anyone you've ever met and start talking to them instantly. The idea that people are going to stop using Facebook because they no longer support messaging on the mobile web is laughable any place but HN. Any serious FB messaging user knows the app is much better than the mobile web client, which nobody uses.

Easy on the 9s there buddy, that's one in a trillion.

You're right, more for dramatic effect.

Facebook once changed all e-mail addresses to @facebook.com

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

I wonder if they will just make http://messenger.com more mobile friendly. It's all I use on my laptop.

> At the moment, you can just dismiss the notice and go about your business.

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.

requesting the desktop site still works in chrome for android

And God forbid you use different 'people' profiles on your computer - all of a sudden you're getting 5 push notifications instead of 1

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