Facebook Messenger or Messenger is a proprietary instant messaging app and platform from Meta Platforms that was launched in 2011. It was originally developed as Facebook Chat in 2008 and was part of the Facebook platform but has eventually became a standalone app and platform beginning in 2011. Nevertheless, despite having its separate app for different operating systems, Messenger is still integrated with Facebook, and both share almost the same user base.
Pros: Advantages of Messenger
1. Free Platform with a Huge User Base
Two of the most prominent selling points and advantages of Messenger are it is free and that it has the largest number of active users among all other instant messaging apps and platforms in the world. The global user base of this platform is unrivaled. Individuals and organizations with Facebook accounts automatically have Messenger accounts. The fact that the market penetration of Facebook is high means that an individual can send and receive instant messages with his or her relatives, friends, colleagues, and acquaintances.
2. Integration with Other Meta Products
Remember that this is a standalone instant messaging platform but it remains integrated with Facebook and even Instagram. There are several benefits to this. It can help in connecting or reconnect with other individuals and organizations. This is also helpful in situations in which a user needs to reach out to a business or other organization with a Facebook Page or Instagram account. Businesses and other organizations with Facebook Page accounts can use Messenger as a platform for lead generation and customer services.
3. Expansive Communication Features
Messenger is not only an instant messaging platform. It supports group messaging with up to 250 participants. This is ideal for relatives or friends, and for business communication applications. The call and video chat features rival WhatsApp and Telegram and can even be an inexpensive alternative to Zoom, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams. Group video chat is possible with up to 50 participants. There is also a feature for sending voice notes. The platform also allows sending and receiving documents and multimedia files.
4. Decent Level of User Privacy Controls
Another advantage of Messenger is its privacy features. Messages from senders who are not connected to a user are automatically directed to a “Message Request” folder. A user can choose who can message him or her based on the level of connection. There is also an option for blocking users. The “Restrict” feature allows a user to still receive messages from unwanted users minus the notifications. Restricted users and their messages are directed to a “Restricted Accounts” folder. End-to-end encryption is also another privacy feature.
Cons: Disadvantages of Messenger
1. Digital Ads Displayed on the Interface
Meta Platforms rolls out targeted digital ad units from time to time on the interface of Messenger as an extension of the ad-based model of its Facebook platform. These ads are often based on the interest and internet usage or online activities of the target user. Some users can find them too intrusive and disruptive because they interfere with the user interface and the entire user experience while others can find them irrelevant and misleading. There are also data privacy concerns because of the seeming targeted nature of these digital ads.
2. User Interface Design Can Be Cluttered
Another disadvantage of Messenger is that its user interface can become too cluttered due to too much information. The entire look is not as straightforward for an instant messaging platform. This is especially true in the various mobile app versions. The home screen is populated not only with recent conversations from the contact list but also with features such as Facebook Stories and Notes, and digital advertisements. Some users might find this unappealing because it affects both the user interface design and the overall user experience.
3. Notable Privacy and Security Concerns
Using this instant messaging platform also entails users giving their data to Meta Platforms for its target advertising delivery. These include their online activities, interests obtained from profile information, location, and contact list. This might not be a big deal for most because it is a part of the trade-off that comes from using a free service but some might find this uncomfortable. There are also security-related concerns because the account can be hacked and messages can be accessed and read in case of users with weak login credentials.
4. Limitations in Communication Features
It is true that Messenger has expansive features despite being a free instant messaging platform. It is a cost-effective alternative to VoIP and video conferencing services. However, despite the aforesaid extensive communication features, there are also limitations. The group chat feature is not ideal for large-sized organizations and their large-scale internal communication requirements. The same is true for the group video chat feature with its limited number of participants and lack of productivity tools.