Facebook has begun notifying users in Europe that its messaging feature will disappear from the main mobile Facebook app in a couple of weeks, forcing iOS and Android users to download its Facebook Messenger app.
Although the changes won’t occur everywhere, for everyone, all at once, eventually all users who wish to use the messaging service on their mobile devices will have to download the free standalone app, with a few exceptions, The Verge reports.
People using cheaper Android devices with limited storage and those using Windows phones and tablets will still be able to send and receive messages in the main app. Users with Paper, Facebook’s new magazine-style app, will also be able to use the messaging feature, according to The Verge.
Some users will likely be unhappy about needing a separate app, but the split will allow the company to build out its messaging service to compete with the likes of Skype and Viber.
For instance, Facebook already offers a free calling service in its messaging app -- something that users who only have the main app can’t access.
The separation will also probably mean that the main app will become smaller, making up for the extra MBs taken up by Messenger.
"Once the while process is complete, we expect the core apps to be faster," a spokesperson told the Verge.
Facebook recently acquired messaging service WhatsApp for more than $15 billion but will continue to operate it as a completely separate service.