One of the questions that has puzzled many Facebook users is why the company decided to split out the messaging component into a separate, standalone app. At a live Q&A session, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg finally revealed why the choice was made.
It all comes down to the user experience, Zuckerberg explained. He said that while Facebook's primary purpose is to serve you the News Feed, messaging is a feature that people were using more and more. "You're probably messaging people 15 times per day."
But to access the messaging component of the Facebook app, you'd have to open up a separate tab once the app had loaded. "Having to go into an app and take a bunch of steps to get to messaging is a lot of friction," Zuckerberg explained. "We saw that the top messaging apps people were using were their own app. These apps that are fast and just focused on messaging."
Although having to install an extra app to access Facebook messaging is "a short term painful thing", to properly serve users the company had to create a "dedicated and focused experience". Facebook actually discovered that after people had switched to using Messenger, they were faster at responding to messages.
Why wouldn't we let people choose to install the app on their own at their own pace? The reason is that what we're trying to do is build a service that's good for everyone. [...] We realize that we have a lot to earn in terms of trust and proving that this standalone messenger experience will be really good. We have some of our most talented people working on this.
Zuckerberg also commented on the accuracy of the film that supposedly portrayed his experience starting up Facebook, The Social Network. He said that the writers "just kind of made up a bunch of stuff that I found kind of hurtful," and that if the film was a truthful portrayal of the story "it would've just been me at a computer coding for two hours straight."
Despite this, he and his team were able to have some fun watching it. "We knew everyone at Facebook was gonna want to see it. So we actually took the whole company to go see it the day it came out."