Facebook’s plan to monetize Messenger through payments just got one step closer to reality. Now users who want to keep messaging their Facebook friends will be forced to download the standalone Messenger app.
In the next few days, Facebook will fade out the messaging option from its main iPhone and Android apps. Now users worldwide will experience what European Facebook users underwent in April, where Facebook first tested a standalone app for messaging.
The social network hasn’t exactly been subtle about its plans to monetize the messaging function. In June, the company snagged PayPal President David Marcus to oversee Messenger, and clearly expected Marcus to use his payments expertise.
Messenger hit 200 million active users and people now send 12 billion messages a day, Facebook said in a statement. It’s unclear so far how this would be monetized, but in the 2014 second quarter conference, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that “over time there will be some overlap between [Messenger] and payments.”
The move is similar to FourSquare’s corralling of some of its app’s functions into an exclusively check-in app Swarm. However, as tech companies continue to split up their apps into increasingly specific categories, the question that remains is whether users will be content to have multiple Facebook and Foursquare apps on their phones.