For a massive technology company, Facebook is surprisingly dumb about apps. It has had far more flops than successful ventures when it comes to smartphone software -- in fact, the default Facebook app is just about the only one that has been able to make a go of things. In a feeble attempt at spinning off social network messaging into a standalone concept, Facebook now forces users to make use of its Messenger app, rather than choosing between it and the built-in messaging client in the primary app.
The resulting bloodbath of negative reviews isn't surprising. File this one under "You could have spotted it from a mile away."
Here is the overall U.S. rating breakdown of Facebook Messenger from its launch three years ago through today:
Plenty of happy folks, right? Here are the ratings since Facebook made Messenger the mandatory messaging client:
I've seen this massive blowback written off under the guise of users hating change. No, users don't hate change, they hate meaningless change. As someone who used the Facebook app to send messages on a daily basis, I can tell you it worked flawlessly and made going from my news feed to one-on-one conversations a breeze.
Now there are two apps. That's two apps that push notifications to me about my friends, two apps that allow me to connect with the exact same people, and two apps that could potentially break down or house a serious security glitch that isn't yet known. That isn't progress.
On Facebook's end, the company essentially doubles up on the number of app installs it can boast about. Messenger has gone from #18 to #1 on the overall app downloads chart in a matter of days, so the strategy is clearly paying off, but how long can Facebook continue to make obnoxious decisions like this before it becomes too much?
It's been said that if you're not paying for something, you are the product. If that's true, shouldn't Facebook be doing its best to keep its products happy? It seems not.