SAN FRANCISCO - 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.
Facebook began notifying users in France, England and several other European countries on Wednesday that beginning in a couple of weeks they will need to install the company's standalone Messenger app in order to send and receive messages.
Facebook plans to eventually require that users in all countries install the Messenger app, spokesman Derick Mains said, though he could not provide a specific timeframe for the change.
The move is intended to ensure that users have a consistent and high-quality experience, a Facebook spokesman told Reuters. The free, standalone Messenger app is faster than the messaging service that's currently built into Facebook's primary mobile app. Facebook users can also access more features in the Messenger app, such as the ability to make voice phone calls.