Facebook Receives a Message from Reviewers: We Hate Your New App

Smartphone displaying Messenger app
Smartphone displaying Messenger app

Courtesy of Facebook

Facebook’s new app might just be one big error message.

The social media giant announced in July that it would split the private messaging option off from the main Facebook app, asking those who wanted to message one another to download a separate, Messages-specific app. The move has proved unpopular, as thousands have taken to the iTunes and Android rating systems to express their discontent.

As of Monday morning, the separate Messenger app has received 17,644 reviews in Apple’s iTunes store, for a cumulative rating of 1 star out of a possible 5. Many reviewers complained at being forced to download a new separate app.

This pushback comes after a rather cocky lead-up to the forced change. After Foursquare was criticized for moving its check-in feature to a new, separate app named Swarm, Facebook product manager David E. Weekly wrote a post on the blogging website Medium arguing that Facebook’s Messenger app would not have that problem.

“It wasn’t until version three(!) of our app and a pretty complete rewrite that we felt comfortable pushing people over to it, because we *knew* it was going to be a better experience than messaging in the full Facebook app, and could measure it,” he wrote on July 22. “It was a bold move but undertaken after hugely intensive testing and consideration and — most importantly — making the core product awesome.”

However, reviews from the App Store tell a different story.

“This app is forced for all people who use Facebook on their phones, immobilizing us from messaging friends until we have downloaded this app,” one reviewer named Stephen Chase Baker wrote. “I’ve already ran into numerous bugs that makes this app unusable.”

As my colleague Rob Pegararo noted last week, splitting apps into several, more lightweight iterations of their original form is by no means a dying trend. And the way Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been talking, it’s only the beginning.

Follow Alyssa Bereznak on Twitter or email her here.