Dislike: Facebook Messenger flops

By on August 19, 2014

Users’ dislike of Facebook’s standalone messaging app points to the pitfalls of trying to take over smartphones.

In a world of 24-hour social media, there is nowhere for companies to hide anymore. So it’s a rather nice twist of irony, given the proclivity of consumers to take to Facebook to vent their anger about a rubbish product or sub-par service, that the social network is now facing the wrath of the online review.

Its Facebook Messenger app has been almost universally panned: Since the latest iOS version was launched at the start of this month, it has garnered more than 51 000 reviews, 94 percent of which have been one star, according to data from analytics firm App Annie. Ouch.

The app has fared slightly better on Android-powered smartphones, with 65 percent of ratings at one star in the same period, giving it an average of 2.1 compared to 1.2 on iPhones. But it still doesn’t compare well to ratings of above four stars for Whatsapp and more than three stars for Snapchat.

Users’ main gripe appears to be being forced by Facebook to download the standalone messenger, instead of being allowed to keep on messaging within the main app. Consumers really don’t like being told what to do, especially when they think it’s “pointless”, as many reviewers ranted, and “a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist”.

The app is also viewed with suspicion by many worried about the internet giant invading their privacy. It can record audio, for example, leading to many voicing concerns they would be spied on, when actually it’s designed for voice messages and calls.

Facebook has of course ridden many waves of criticism before – users complain every time anything gets changed, but hardly any actually bother to leave over it. But with the voice of the consumer ever shoutier and louder, no thanks to Facebook itself, the social network would do well to pay heed to the criticism before it overreaches itself in its bid to take over our smartphones.

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