Facebook users will now have to install a separate app for chatting.
In a radical move, even by Facebook standards, the company has decided to bar its users from sending and receiving chat messages in its main smartphone app.
The new app is faster than the inbuilt Facebook messenger and will host more features such as voice phone calls.
A message released by Facebook on Wednesday read, "We have built a fast and reliable messaging experience through Messenger and now it makes sense for us to focus all our energy and resources on that experience."
It has already started in Europe and will soon spread to the rest of the world.
Facebook has begun the process of notifying its users in France, Britain and some other European countries that they should install the messenger app within a few weeks time to continue messaging through Facebook. The plan is to implement this across the board in the coming future.
However, this is a risky decision on Facebook’s part as forcing people to install the app could result in a backlash against the company.
The initial reactionary wave has already been started.
An overview of the Twitter reactions to the decision revealed that most people are unhappy:
Facebook to force us to use its Messenger app. GREAT SUCCESS. I love to double up my apps for no reason http://t.co/e9ElTquJHQ— Jonathananan (@jonathanriggall) April 10, 2014
Don't be such a bully, Facebook http://t.co/CBxP6SUbGM— Seth Fiegerman (@sfiegerman) April 9, 2014
please don't assume I will see Facebook messages - they now insist I use their intrusive messenger app, but I won't. pic.twitter.com/JcpStmwQRS— Bill Thompson (@billt) April 10, 2014
The idea of splitting the Facebook experience into multiple standalone apps also received a lukewarm response, particularly after its January launch of the news-reading app Paper.
Why do I need 3 apps to use @Facebook? Facebook, Messenger, Pages Manager... What a mess.— mallow610 (@mallow610) April 10, 2014
A recent op-ed article published on the popular blog Mashable has listed 11 apprehensions over the decision.
By forcing users, Facebook is not going to be making any friends. Nevertheless, the overall impact remains to be seen.