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Facebook to soon require standalone Messenger app for mobile chats [u]

Facebook on Monday announced it will be drawing down support for messages sent through its flagship mobile app, meaning users around the world will be forced to download the standalone Messenger app if they want to take their chats on the road.

After seeing success in a Messenger-only pilot program in Europe, Facebook will in the coming days remove chat capabilities from its main app and require iOS and Android device users to rely on the standalone messaging software for such services, reports TechCrunch.

In the next few days, we're continuing to notify more people that if they want to send and receive Facebook messages, they'll need to download the Messenger app. As we've said, our goal is to focus development efforts on making Messenger the best mobile messaging experience possible and avoid the confusion of having separate Facebook mobile messaging experiences. Messenger is used by more than 200 million people every month, and we'll keep working to make it an even more engaging way to connect with people.

According to the publication, Facebook claims Messenger is 20 percent faster than sending and receiving messages through the main Facebook mobile app. Breaking out chat services to a standalone app will remove bloat from the flagship, while boosting user share for Messenger. While streamlining apps may win the favor of some users, others might take unkindly to the change, especially those who use Chat Heads to multitask while in the flagship Facebook app.

Most recently, Facebook took its Messenger app universal with a new version optimized for the iPad.

For those looking to download Messenger before the new policy goes into effect, the app is available as a free 39MB download from the App Store.

Update: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated Windows Phone devices will also be affected by the change in Messenger policy. Facebook is planning the drawdown in support for iOS and Android devices only. The article has been updated to reflect this information.