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Facebook moves mobile chats to standalone Messenger app

Next time you go to send a message on Facebook's mobile app, don't be surprised if you get a message back from Facebook telling you it's time for a change.

The world's largest social network is now phasing out mobile messaging through its main Facebook app, and requiring users to switch to its standalone Messenger app instead. The transition has been in the works for months, and was rolled out to users in Europe in April.

"In the next few days, we're continuing to notify more people that if they want to send and receive Facebook messages, they'll need to download the Messenger app," a Facebook spokesperson told CNET. "As we've said, our goal is to focus development efforts on making Messenger the best mobile messaging experience possible and avoid the confusion of having separate Facebook mobile messaging experiences."

Facebook says more than 200 million people already use Messenger every month, and the company claims it's 20 percent faster than the old way of messaging within the Facebook app.

The change does not affect users messaging on the desktop version of Facebook.

The Messenger app is free and available for iOS, Android and Windows phones.

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