If you’re using an iPhone, this is old news, but something you probably noticed a few weeks ago. If you’re using an Android phone, your time is coming. Facebook, in its ongoing quest to dominate your smartphone home screen, is removing the chat and messaging functions from its main app and instead, will require you to download the Facebook Messenger app if you want to keep messaging your friends.
While it may take a bit of getting used to, Facebook is actually making it pretty easy. You’ll easily be able to jump back and forth between both apps, and tapping the “Messages” icon in the Facebook app will automatically open the Messenger app. When you’re finished, you’ll be able to jump right back.
Looking at the big picture here, it’s plainly easy to see the motivation: Facebook wants to take up as many spots as possible on your phone. The three big ones they have already: Facebook itself, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram. If you manage a Facebook page for a brand or organization, you’ve also likely got the Facebook Pages app. On an iPhone 5 or 5s, where each home screen has 20 spots for icons (five rows of four each), Facebook could potentially own 1/5 of your screen. If you use Facebook Home on Android, that makes five possible apps for you.
When you look at other social networks, you see the pattern isn’t just with Facebook. Twitter has its own app, plus Vine. They also just bought Cover, an Android lock screen replacement, to continue their attempted takeover of your eyes and your attention. Google has multiple apps that make up Google Plus, as well. There’s the main Google+ app, the Hangouts app, and if you’re an Android user, there’s integration with your Photos app. Between these three social networks, which the majority of people use, they own a minimum combined nine (yes, 9) apps.
If you add in a few other apps that go along with these, that number gets even higher. For the Instagram power users, you probably have a collage app that lets you add multiple photos into one, and maybe also a panoramic app that makes wide photos fit in a 1:1 square area. For Twitter, you might have an app that helps you make better Vines, as well as one of the many third-party Twitter apps.
There’s no doubt about it, the titans of the social networks want to own your phone.
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