ⓘ Facebook Messenger

                                     

ⓘ Facebook Messenger

Facebook Messenger is an American messaging app and platform developed by Facebook, Inc. Originally developed as Facebook Chat in 2008, the company revamped its messaging service in 2010, and subsequently released standalone iOS and Android apps in August 2011 and standalone Facebook Portal hardware for Messenger-based calling in Q4 2018. Over the years, Facebook has released new apps on a variety of different operating systems, launched a dedicated website interface, and separated the messaging functionality from the main Facebook app, allowing users to use the web interface or download one of the standalone apps.

Users can send messages and exchange photos, videos, stickers, audio, and files, as well as react to other users messages and interact with bots. The service also supports voice and video calling. The standalone apps support using multiple accounts, conversations with optional end-to-end encryption, and playing games.

                                     

1. History

Following tests of a new instant messaging platform on Facebook in March 2008, the feature, then-titled "Facebook Chat", was gradually released to users in April 2008. Facebook revamped its messaging platform in November 2010, and subsequently acquired group messaging service Beluga in March 2011, which the company used to launch its standalone iOS and Android mobile apps on August 9, 2011. Facebook later launched a BlackBerry version in October 2011. An app for Windows Phone, though lacking features including voice messaging and chat heads, was released in March 2014. In April 2014, Facebook announced that the messaging feature would be removed from the main Facebook app and users will be required to download the separate Messenger app. An iPad-optimized version of the iOS app was released in July 2014. In April 2015, Facebook launched a website interface for Messenger. A Tizen app was released on July 13, 2015. Facebook launched Messenger for Windows 10 in April 2016. In October 2016, Facebook released Facebook Messenger Lite, a stripped-down version of Messenger with a reduced feature set. The app is aimed primarily at old Android phones and regions where high-speed Internet is not widely available. In April 2017, Facebook Messenger Lite was expanded to 132 more countries. In May 2017, Facebook revamped the design for Messenger on Android and iOS, bringing a new home screen with tabs and categorization of content and interactive media, red dots indicating new activity, and relocated sections.

Facebook announced a Messenger program for Windows 7 in a limited beta test in November 2011. The following month, Israeli blog TechIT leaked a download link for the program, with Facebook subsequently confirming and officially releasing the program. The program was eventually discontinued in March 2014. A Firefox web browser add-on was released in December 2012, but was also discontinued in March 2014.

In December 2017, Facebook announced Messenger Kids, a new app aimed for persons under 13 years of age. The app comes with some differences compared to the standard version. In 2019, Facebook Messenger announced to be the 2nd most downloaded mobile app of the decade, from 2011 to 2019. In December 2019, Facebook Messenger dropped support for users to sign in using only a mobile number, meaning that users must sign in to a Facebook account in order to use the service.

In March 2020, Facebook started to ship its dedicated Messenger for macOS app through the Mac App Store. The app is currently live in regions include France, Australia, Mexico and Poland.

                                     

2. Monetization

In January 2017, Facebook announced that it was testing showing advertisements in Facebook Messengers home feed. At the time, the testing was limited to a "small number of users in Australia and Thailand", with the ad format being swipe-based carousel ads. In July, the company announced that they were expanding the testing to a global audience. Stan Chudnovsky, head of Messenger, told VentureBeat that "We’ll start slow. When the average user can be sure to see them we truly don’t know because we’re just going to be very data-driven and user feedback-driven on making that decision". Facebook told TechCrunch that the advertisements placement in the inbox depends on factors such as thread count, phone screen size, and pixel density. In a TechCrunch editorial by Devin Coldewey, he described the ads as "huge" in the space they occupy, "intolerable" in the way they appear in the user interface, and "irrelevant" due to the lack of context. Coldewey finished by writing "Advertising is how things get paid for on the internet, including TechCrunch, so I’m not an advocate of eliminating it or blocking it altogether. But bad advertising experiences can spoil a perfectly good app like for the purposes of argument Messenger. Messaging is a personal, purposeful use case and these ads are a bad way to monetize it."

                                     

3. Reception

In November 2014, the Electronic Frontier Foundation EFF listed Facebook Messenger Facebook chat on its Secure Messaging Scorecard. It received a score of 2 out of 7 points on the scorecard. It received points for having communications encrypted in transit and for having recently completed an independent security audit. It missed points because the communications were not encrypted with keys the provider didnt have access to, users could not verify contacts identities, past messages were not secure if the encryption keys were stolen, the source code was not open to independent review, and the security design was not properly documented.

As stated by Facebook in its Help Center, there is no way to log out of the Facebook Messenger application. Instead, users can choose between different availability statuses, including "Appear as inactive", "Switch accounts", and "Turn off notifications". Media outlets have reported on a workaround, by pressing a "Clear data" option in the applications menu in Settings on Android devices, which returns the user to the log-in screen.



                                     

4. User growth

After being separated from the main Facebook app, Facebook Messenger had 600 million users in April 2015. This grew to 900 million in June 2016, 1 billion in July 2016, and 1.2 billion in April 2017.