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Facebook to enforce separate mobile app for messages

Users will no longer be able to send or receive messages via Facebook mobile

Facebook to enforce separate mobile app for messages
Facebook has started to notify users in France, England and other European countries that the standalone messaging app will need to be installed to send messages.

According to Reuters, Facebook Inc will no longer let users send and receive private messages within its main smartphone app, and will require that users install a separate messaging app, the Internet company said on Wednesday.

The free, standalone messenger app will also feature the ability to make voice phone calls and is said to be faster than the messaging service that is currently built into Facebook's primary mobile app.

Facebook said in a statement: "We have built a fast and reliable messaging experience through Messenger and now it makes sense for us to focus all our energy and resources on that experience,"

Facebook has started to notify users in France, England and other European countries of the change, saying that in a couple of weeks, the standalone messaging app will need to be installed to send and receive Facebook messages on mobiles and smartphones. Eventually, it will require users in all countries to install the app but according to Reuters, spokesman Derick Mains said, though he could not provide a specific timeframe for the change.

Facebook is currently facing increasing competition from other mobile messaging apps, such as Snapchat and Line. It stunned observers by announcing plans in February to buy the popular WhatsApp messaging app for $19 billion.

Forcing users to install a separate messaging app on their phones could cause a backlash from consumers, a post on the technology blog Mashable on Wednesday was titled "11 Reasons why Pulling Messenger From Facebook Mobile is a Terrible Idea," and many people took to Twitter to post critical comments about the change.

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