The world’s most popular social network (by a landslide) has long stopped being about liking online content and sharing cool stuff with friends. Instant text and voice communication is in fact such an integral part of Facebook’s DNA nowadays that the cross-platform Messenger service is rapidly nearing a billion monthly active users.

While these can currently always choose to IM their e-buddies via the Android, iOS and Windows Phone app or the actual FB mobile website, it looks like Mark Zuckerberg & co. intend to soon remove the alternative altogether.

Even for basic message viewing, Facebook will before long require Messenger installation, at least on Android phones, which some people might find inconvenient due to the app’s size and many permissions needed to run it, or just unnecessarily restrictive.

On the bright side, native emoji diversity is vastly improved on all mobile operating systems now, with support for skin tone selection, and far more gender-neutral and women-centric variants than before. You can communicate, erm, emotions and feelings through colorful icons of female police officers, runners, pedestrians, surfers and swimmers, among others.

Meanwhile, an Android N-supporting beta has just picked up Direct Reply functionality, and rumor has it end-to-end encryption is finally in the pipeline, but probably won’t be enabled by default for all Facebook Messenger users.

Instead, exactly like with Google Allo, you’ll be free to choose between total conversation privacy and security on one side, and certain intelligent features aiming to make your experience more intuitive that however need full access to your mobile communication. Not an easy call, huh?

Sources: Android Police (1), (2), The Verge, Fortune

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