After Messenger, Facebook forces users to download Moments app

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Facebook users need to download Moments app to keep privately synced photos on their profile, otherwise they will be automatically deleted by 7 July.

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If you are an avid Facebook user, you would have come across this small notification by the social networking company. It said that photos you privately synced from your phone to your Facebook profile will be deleted by 7 July. To keep these photos, the user would need to download and log into Moments, a new app from Facebook that allows users to organize and privately share photos from their phone, before 7 July.

This is the second time that Facebook Inc. is forcing users to download a standalone mobile app by disabling the photo-syncing feature that had so far been inbuilt in the web application. For instance, couple of years back, the social media firm disabled messaging within its web interface and recommended users to download the Messenger app instead. Many Facebook users were not happy with the changes, but chief executive and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg couldn’t be happier, considering Messenger’s growth trajectory in the last two years.

Facebook reported 500 million monthly active users (MAUs) on Messenger in November 2014, 600 million in March 2015 and 700 million in June 2015. The stellar user growth made Messenger the fastest growing app of 2015, as per consumer research company Nielsen.

In April 2016, Facebook announced that Messenger had 900 million MAUs, up from 800 million in January . The growth also clearly indicates that Facebook’s decision to roll out Messenger as a standalone app has paid off immensely. Messenger has historically been ranked among the top three apps throughout the year, though it may have dropped to number nine or 10 at times.

Between 7 June and 13 June, the app was the number one US social networking site and between positions one and four in the US overall apps category.

Now, Facebook wants to do a repeat with Moments.The app saw a massive increase in downloads and climbed to the top of the App Store rankings, as soon as Facebook notified users of deleting photos. According to the Forbes website, Moments held the top rank on “Free iPhone Apps” on the Apple App Store , as of 11 June, and remained in the top 15 even a day later.

Compare this to the period before Facebook sent out the photo deletion notification: the Momnets app was ranked somewhere between 90 and 100.

In fact, many users downloaded Moments because they did not fully understand which photos will be deleted.

For those who may not recall, photo-syncing was an optional feature that Facebook launched in 2012, which allowed users to automatically sync photos from their smartphone to a private album on Facebook. These photos were either stored in an album called Synced (in the app) or Synced from Phone (on the desktop). This is the album that’s going away on 7 July, and not all your Facebook photos uploaded from your phone, and certainly not all your photos.

Even Facebook competitor Google (Alphabet Inc.) has seen success with its standalone photo-syncing app Google Photos. Last year, Google rejigged the Photos app and separated it from the Google+ social network , transforming Google Photos from an image sharing service to a free-to-use cloud storage. The app currently sits in the top 20 “Photos & Video” apps on iOS and features among the top 10 app on Android.

Then, does rolling out Moments as a standalone app make business sense? Given Messenger’s performance, it would seem so. Critics argue that “the real reason that Facebook is pushing chat into its Messenger is to create another platform or silo from which Facebook can access you as a user. This might seem an odd decision on the surface, but viewed through the lens of a company that wants to spread its tendrils as far and wide as possible, it makes sense”.

[Source: Livemint]

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