Facebook is turning off the messaging feature in its mobile app, forcing users to download the standalone Facebook Messenger app.
For those in Europe, the shut down will take place in two weeks time, with the rest of the world following in the near future.
According to the Verge, the Messages button will remain in the app, but will simple boot users over to Messenger.
A Facebook spokesperson told the Verge that there will be exceptions to the shut down. Those with low-end Android phones, Windows Phone users, and those on tablets will still be able to message in the Facebook app itself.
In an interview with TechCrunch in November, CEO Mark Zuckerberg explained the fragmentation as a way towards stronger, cleaner products. “We found that having [messaging]as a second-class thing inside the Facebook app makes it so there’s more friction to replying to messages, so we would rather have people be using a more focused experience for that.”
The move is part of a broader strategy away from one core, fully-featured app. Zuckerberg touched on the company’s new mobile approach during a January earnings call when he said “Our vision for Facebook is to create a set of products that help you share any kind of content you want with any audience you want.”
In February, Facebook launched the standalone Paper, a news app highlighting content from Facebook’s favourite publishers.