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Facebook Just Killed One of Its Main App’s Most Popular Features

By Dino Grandoni

Facebook is betting you love talking to your Facebook friends so much that you’ll download an entirely separate app for the privilege.

In a matter of days, people will no longer be able to use the Facebook app on their iPhone or Android phone to message friends. To do so, they’ll have to download an entirely different app called Messenger, the company said. The app has been around since 2011.

The company is in the process of notifying Facebook users of the switch, a spokesperson told The Huffington Post. Some people got an email asking them to download “a free app that’s faster and more reliable for everyday messaging.” On the Facebook app itself, a friendly little otter is prodding people to download Messenger.

If you’ve been following Facebook news, you wouldn’t be surprised about the switch. Facebook first started talking about it in April.

With 200 million Facebookers chatting every month, messaging is one of the most popular activities on the social network. So what’s the wisdom behind slicing the app into two? The answer, as is the case with so many of Facebook’s decisions, is that the additional app will get you to spend more time with Facebook and, in turn, give it more information about you.

Facebook decided to make the change after finding earlier this year that people in Europe responded 20 percent faster to messages on Messenger than they did through the site’s flagship app, Facebook told HuffPost. They also sent more photos, videos, stickers — basically, everything — if they had Messenger. An app built specifically for messaging, according to Facebook’s thinking, is just better to use.

All those extra sent messages only feed the data monster, making it easier for Facebook to show you ads you’ll be interested in. The dual-app approach also means it’s more likely you’ll have at least one Facebook-owned app open on your phone at any time.

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