Facebook Messenger
Facebook Messenger
Facebook Messenger logo.svg
Developer(s) Facebook
Initial release August 9, 2011; 6 years ago (2011-08-09)
Stable release(s)
Android 148.0 / September 1, 2018; 7 months' time (2018-09-01)[1][2]
iOS 148.0 / January 10, 2018; 6 days ago (2018-01-10)[3]
Windows 139.0 / January 6, 2018; 10 days ago (2018-01-06)[4]
Preview release(s)
Android 147.0.0.25.86 / December 16, 2017; 31 days ago (2017-12-16)[5]
Development status Active
Operating system Android, iOS, Web, BlackBerry OS, Windows Phone, Tizen
Type Instant messaging
License Freeware, proprietary
Alexa rank
Website www.messenger.com

Facebook Messenger (sometimes abbreviated as Messenger)[7] is an instant messaging service and software application. Originally developed as Facebook Chat in 2008, the company revamped its messaging service in 2010, and subsequently released standalone iOS and Android apps in August 2011. Over the years, Facebook has released new apps on a variety of different operating systems, launched a dedicated website interface, and separated the messaging functionality from the main Facebook app, requiring users to use the web interface or download one of the standalone apps.

Users can send messages and exchange photos, videos, stickers, audio, and files, as well as react to other users' messages and interact with bots. The service also supports voice and video calling. The standalone apps support using multiple accounts, conversations with optional end-to-end encryption, and playing games.

After being separated from the main Facebook app, Messenger had 600 million users in April 2015, growing to 900 million in June 2016, 1 billion in July 2016, and 1.2 billion in April 2017.

History

Following tests of a new instant messaging platform on Facebook in March 2008,[8][9] the feature, then-titled "Facebook Chat", was gradually released to users in April 2008.[10][11] Facebook revamped its messaging platform in November 2010,[12] and subsequently acquired group messaging service Beluga in March 2011,[13] which the company used to launch its standalone iOS and Android mobile apps on August 9, 2011.[14][15] Facebook later launched a BlackBerry version in October 2011.[16][17] An app for Windows Phone, though lacking features including voice messaging and chat heads, was released in March 2014.[18][19] In April 2014, Facebook announced that the messaging feature would be removed from the main Facebook app and users will be required to download the separate Messenger app.[20][21] An iPad-optimized version of the iOS app was released in July 2014.[22][23] In April 2015, Facebook launched a website interface for Messenger.[24][25] A Tizen app was released on July 13, 2015.[26] In October 2016, Facebook released Facebook Messenger Lite, a stripped-down version of Messenger with a reduced feature set. The app is aimed primarily at old Android phones and regions where high-speed Internet is not widely available. Facebook Messenger Lite is only available in Kenya, Tunisia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Venezuela, and is set to come to other countries later.[27][28] In April 2017, Facebook Messenger Lite was expanded to 132 more countries.[29][30] In May 2017, Facebook revamped the design for Messenger on Android and iOS, bringing a new home screen with tabs and categorization of content and interactive media, red dots indicating new activity, and relocated sections.[31][32]

Facebook announced a Messenger program for Windows 7 in a limited beta test in November 2011.[33][34] The following month, Israeli blog TechIT leaked a download link for the program, with Facebook subsequently confirming and officially releasing the program.[35][36] The program was eventually discontinued in March 2014.[37][38] A Firefox web browser add-on was released in December 2012,[39] but was also discontinued in March 2014.[40]

In December 2017, Facebook announced "Messenger Kids", a new app aimed for persons under 13 years of age. The app comes with some differences compared to the standard version: it was designed for a young audience without phone numbers, so allows registration with first and last names only; its launch was primarily for iPad tablets with the iOS operating system in the United States only, though later support for Android was announced; parents have oversight and control, with requirements about identity verification and approval of contacts; there are no in-app purchases nor advertisements, and thus also no data collection for advertising purposes; children's accounts are not visible in search on Facebook; and the child's account does not automatically migrate to a full Facebook account once the child turns 13 years old (the legal age of Facebook registration). It features augmented reality filters and lenses, along with games and educational content.[41][42]

Features

The following is a table of features available in Facebook Messenger, as well as their geographical coverage and what devices they are available on:

Monetization

In January 2017, Facebook announced that it was testing showing advertisements in Facebook Messenger's home feed. At the time, the testing was limited to a "small number of users in Australia and Thailand", with the ad format being swipe-based carousel ads.[118][119][120] In July, the company announced that they were expanding the testing to a global audience. Stan Chudnovsky, head of Messenger, told VentureBeat that "We'll start slow ... When the average user can be sure to see them we truly don't know because we're just going to be very data-driven and user feedback-driven on making that decision".[121][122] Facebook told TechCrunch that the advertisements' placement in the inbox depends on factors such as thread count, phone screen size, and pixel density.[123] In a TechCrunch editorial by Devin Coldewey, he described the ads as "huge" in the space they occupy, "intolerable" in the way they appear in the user interface, and "irrelevant" due to the lack of context. Coldewey finished by writing "Advertising is how things get paid for on the internet, including TechCrunch, so I'm not an advocate of eliminating it or blocking it altogether. But bad advertising experiences can spoil a perfectly good app like (for the purposes of argument) Messenger. Messaging is a personal, purposeful use case and these ads are a bad way to monetize it."[124]

Reception

In November 2014, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) listed Facebook Messenger (Facebook chat) on its Secure Messaging Scorecard. It received a score of 2 out of 7 points on the scorecard. It received points for having communications encrypted in transit and for having recently completed an independent security audit. It missed points because the communications were not encrypted with keys the provider didn't have access to, users could not verify contacts' identities, past messages were not secure if the encryption keys were stolen, the source code was not open to independent review, and the security design was not properly documented.[125][126][127]

As stated by Facebook in its Help Center, there is no way to log out of the Facebook Messenger application. Instead, users can choose between different availability statuses, including "Appear as inactive", "Switch accounts", and "Turn off notifications".[128] Media outlets have reported on a workaround, by pressing a "Clear data" option in the application's menu in Settings on Android devices, which returns the user to the log-in screen.[129][130]

Criticism of Messenger Kids app

In December 2017, Facebook announced "Messenger Kids", a new app for persons under 13 years of age. At its announcement, Facebook told the media that Messenger Kids was significantly different from the standard version, with no advertisements, in-app purchases or data collection, and with strict policies in place. Parents must specifically download the app onto their child's phone, log in with their account to verify their identity and create a unique Messenger Kids-account for their child. After doing so, parents have control over who their child talks to (with parents needing to approve new contacts). Additionally, Messenger Kids-accounts are not visible in search on Facebook; safety filters aim to proactively prevent children from sharing nudity, sexual content, or violence; and a dedicated, human support team works to tackle abuse complaints. The app was certified by the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).[42] However, the app received significant criticism and concern, primarily due to it collecting the contents of messages and photos sent by minors,[131] as well as for trying to get people hooked into the Facebook experience at a very young age.[132] UK's Secretary of Health Jeremy Hunt publicly criticized the initiative, tweeting that the company should "stay away from my kids" and "Facebook told me they would come back with ideas to PREVENT underage use of their product, but instead they are actively targeting younger children".[133]

User growth

After being separated from the main Facebook app, Facebook Messenger had 600 million users in April 2015.[57] This grew to 900 million in June 2016,[85] 1 billion in July 2016,[134][135] and 1.2 billion in April 2017.[136][137]

See also

References

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