Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg held a public Q&A forum on the site to interact with his users directly, in an effort to build trust between the two and answer some of the questions users had directly. One of the biggest questions that he was asked was the company’s reasoning for making users download a secondary app for the purpose of chatting within Facebook’s messaging system.
The questions, which were voted on by users, were aligned, and then answered by the CEO himself – giving some clarity as to why everyone had to download Messenger, not too long ago. To his credit, he answered the question in a very thoughtful, and direct way.
He first noted, “Asking everyone in our community to install a new app is a big ask. I appreciate that that was work and required friction. We wanted to do this because we believe that this is a better experience. Messaging is becoming increasingly important. On mobile, each app can only focus on doing one thing well, we think.”
In many ways, he is absolutely correct. One of the major issues with the original Facebook app, that had messenger integrated within it was the obvious limitations. The company could not focus on bringing a more interactive, and speed-conscious system, without taking a loss in certain areas. He said that apps like Messenger are “fast and just focused on messaging,” reminding users that without having the extension be the second app, that it wouldn’t be likely for individuals to properly take on messages as a whole. He also pointed out that the trend is at messaging, and less on social networking.
In fact, many use Facebook exclusively for the messaging feature. He also added, “You’re probably messaging people 15 times per day. Having to go into an app and take a bunch of steps to get to messaging is a lot of friction.”
What Zuckerberg is saying is that, the company chose the lesser of the two possible evils. Either inconvenience users by making them go through several steps to get to the messaging feature, which could turn users off – or simply create a standalone app that can stand the test of time, and work in the long term giving Facebook credibility with messaging.