Since that article was published, the changes have happened and you can no-longer access or send messages or chat via the main Facebook app. The only way you can do so now on your phone/tablet etc. is by downloading the separate Messenger app, or by using the web version. Now, a lot of people have just shrugged their shoulders and downloaded the additional app, but I simply refuse to do so, because I don't see how using up extra memory on my phone to house an app from the same company, in order to do something I was perfectly able to do on the original app all along is any kind of leap forward.
That isn't the only thing I find hard to swallow about this concept. Their claim that replies via the new app are up to 20% faster doesn't really make much difference, especially if you are out and about and stuck with a variable 3G or 4G service, which is how it tends to be if you're away from a free, reliable WiFi hotspot. I could probably still get texts faster than that in those conditions.
And that's not all. As the linked article points out, Facebook bought the WhatsApp messenger service earlier this year for a fuck-load of cash. So they now own two messenger services that basically do the same things. On the whole, this last point is the most disgustingly pointless part of it all, given the money involved, but when you think about it, the eventual plan is to probably "combine" both apps by "transferring" all WhatsApp accounts over to their home-grown Messenger. In other words, they'll tell all WhatsApp users that they are going to close the service down, so they'll either have to change over to Messenger, or do without.
The way I see it, this isn't about improving their service for their users, but it's all about doing whatever they can to make their users jump through hoops as they gradually try to buy the whole internet.
So, what next?
- Like: If you are using the main Facebook app and you see a status that you agree with or find funny, you can no-longer click "Like". Instead, you have to download this new app, which will take up as much memory as the main app, despite only displaying a big thumbs-up button, which causes your phone to crash every time you press it.
- Comment: So, you've rebooted your phone after Like crashed it and now you want to comment on said status. There's a pointless app for that.
- FaceBank: Need to check your bank account or pay your bills whilst on the move? Facebook have bought all online banking systems, so you'll have to download this app. Every time you use it, a huge, battery-sapping, impossible-to-skip 90-second animated pop-up covers the screen, which consists of Mark Zuckerberg's face laughing and eating banknotes. Once the pop-up has disappeared, you notice your account has made a large automatic payment to Facebook.
- FoneBook: Facebook buys up every phone network and manufacturer. As a result, they launch this new app, that you have to download if you want to continue to use your phone. Calls are now payed for with Facebook Credits, at a rate of 6000 Credits per minute. This includes emergency calls.
- Breathe: After accumulating 75% of our combined wealth from the previous two apps, Facebook finds itself in a position to buy all of the Oxygen on this planet. As a result, you now have to download this app and link it to your FaceBank account if you wish to stay alive. What's that? You've got no overdraft and you don't get paid for another two weeks? Oh dear...