Facebook Messenger Forced Update: What to Know

Learn about the new Facebook Messenger forced update that requires Facebook users download a new Facebook Messenger app to see and send messages on iPhone or Android and why some users are upset.

The Facebook app on iPhone and Android no longer supports sending Facebook messages to other users. Instead Facebook is pushing users to install the separate Facebook Messenger app to send messages and make free voice calls.

Opening the Facebook app on iPhone or Android currently warns users that they need to download the Facebook Messenger app with multiple warnings.

Here's why you need to install the Facebook Messenger according to Facebook, and why people are mad.

Here’s why you need to install the Facebook Messenger according to Facebook, and why people are mad.

Most users will see, “Update about your messages” and “Update about messages.” These updates tell users that the reason for the move is that Facebook Messenger is more reliable and faster than using the standard Facebook app. this update also tells users how many of their friends are using the Facebook Messenger app, a number that will grow a lot this week. Facebook also provides more details in a help guide.

Read: 3 Reasons to Use Facebook Messenger

If you leave the app and come back in you may be able to continue sending Facebook messages inside the regular Facebook app for the short-term, but you will eventually need to download and install the Facebook Messenger app for iPhone or Android.

Simply put, if you want to use Facebook messages on your iPhone or Android you need to download the Facebook Messenger app from Google Play or from iTunes. This is not a large file, and it will sign in using your Facebook app so setup is a breeze.

With the Facebook Messenger app users can make free phone calls to other Facebook users. When you connect to WiFi you can make a free call, just like you would through the regular phone app on your device, but now it is over the Internet so calling someone in another country is free, and you can make calls when you have no cell service.

You can also use the Facebook Messenger app to make voice calls over your data connection, but if you use too much data it could end up costing you.

If you want to send Facebook messages you'll need the Facebook Messenger app.

If you want to send Facebook messages you’ll need the Facebook Messenger app.

With the Facebook Messenger app on iPhone and Android it is also easier to send photos and videos to friends and manage group chats. Chat heads also keep the people you are talking to in easy view on some devices.

Not everyone is happy about the forced Facebook Messenger switch. A number of users do not like the forced update to Facebook Messenger because the app requires more permission to view your information on your phone. The Facebook Messenger app asks for access to more of your text messages and phone calls. On Android the app requires the following permissions for phone and text;

  • edit your text messages (SMS or MMS)
  • receive text messages (SMS)
  • read your text messages (SMS or MMS)
  • send SMS messages
  • receive text messages (MMS)
  • directly call phone numbers
  • read call log

The standard Facebook app already includes some of these including the ability to read your text messages and the ability to read and write to the call log and directly call phone numbers, but some users are simply ready to draw the line in handing over more permission to Facebook.

Facebook is moving everyone over to the Facebook Messenger app starting today.

Facebook is moving everyone over to the Facebook Messenger app starting today.

Ultimately it is your choice to install the Facebook Messenger app or even the standard Facebook app, depending how much information you want to give to Facebook. You can compare the permissions from the Facebook Messenger and Facebook apps on Google Play.

Another reason some users don’t want to use the standalone Facebook Messenger app is simply due to the number of other messaging apps they already have installed on iPhone or Android.

Facebook Messenger app reviews took a beating from angry users over the last several days. Here’s a selection of complaints.

“Why do we have to move to this stupid app” – errinnirre

“Not happy. I had this then deleted it because it was a memory burden not worth the trouble.” – Kathy Mccarthy

“Why do we need a separate app to chat? I prefer the regular Facebook app, this just takes up space and is very confusing.” – Cade Byers

“I am not going be pushed into using anything I don’t want to use. Uninstalling and using a thing we call email or texting. Facebook doesn’t rule the universe yet. It doesn’t dictate what it’s customers do.” – Alyssa Phillips

For all the complaining, this action spiked Facebook Messenger to the #1 position in the iPhone app store and the Google Play Store on July 29, 2014. Some of the negative reviews complain, but don’t go as far as actually quitting the app.