Despite many complaining about the lack of privacy, the Facebook Messenger app now has 500 million users. The increase in numbers comes after the social media giant decided that users would no longer be able to access the private messaging feature through the main app. It was viewed negatively by many, as a way for the site to just make more money.
However, individuals were not necessarily forced to download the app. There were other options available, including through the computer or using Facebook through mobile internet rather than apps.
There are many benefits to the Messenger app. Users can get messages pop up straight on the screen of their phone, and reply straight back if needed. The downside is that the “other” inbox is not visible through the app, so users have to wait until they get to a computer to check that. This is where messages from people not on a friends list will usually go to help cut down on spam.
The number of users with the Facebook Messenger app has more than doubled since April. It was at around 200 million before discontinuing the access through the main app, according to the company. Peter Martinazzi, product management director, said on Thursday through a blog post that the Messenger app gave people a “faster and more expressive” option for communication.
Despite it being released in 2011, it was only in July that users were really pushed to download it. Now 500 million users have access to the Facebook Messenger app. However, a number of users are not happy about having to download the standalone app, which was the first for the company. The app receives just a 1.5 star review rating on the Apple App Store.
Mark Zuckerberg also recently explained the reason for having the standalone app. It was not a way to get more money, but to offer something that individuals would like. Before now, users would have to open a separate tab through the main social media app. They would be taken from the profile or newsfeed that they were looking at, and could lose their place. They would also need to constantly hit the back button to go back to someone else’s conversation.
The Facebook Messenger app makes it possible for people to open multiple conversations at a time, without all the back button hitting. There is also the possibility of having the main app running in the background, rather than losing a place. The company refuses to back down from the decision it made in April because it believes that it is better for users in the long term.
There has been controversy over the permissions that the app asks for when on a phone. However, Facebook defended this and said that it will not take control of the camera or phone people without warning individuals first. The permissions are required though to get the full use out of the app, which includes calling individuals directly. It seems like not everyone disagrees that the Facebook Messenger app is a great option as 500 million users have now downloaded it, and not all due to the social media giant forcing them.
By Alexandria Ingham