It’s been a while since Facebook separated its Message service from the main app, and it has now officially confirmed new plans in that space with a messaging app that merges WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook messages. In the meantime it seems like a total pain to have to leave the Facebook app to send a Messenger message, using a completely different app. Here's how to
In this feature we’ll show you how to live without the Messenger app and still use the service.
Is avoiding Facebook Messenger worth the hassle?
In a word: no.
Facebook seems utterly determined to force users on to its Messenger app, and it's achieving this by making it very difficult to access the service any other way.
For those who object to the clumsy and controlling nature of Messenger we suggest using an alternative free service, such as WhatsApp.
Send Facebook messages in your desktop web browser
The web version of Facebook is still a potential route for those who want to use the Facebook Messenger service without having the app installed, but it now works only on a PC or laptop, which isn't especially useful when you're away from home. If you're using a phone or tablet you'll be taken to the app store in order to download the app.
Previously on a phone or tablet you were able to exit the store and return to the browser window, then click the cross on the message that your conversations are moving to Messenger. This would return you to your Conversations view and allow you to continue using it as normal, but this no longer works for us.
On a PC or laptop you can launch your desktop browser and navigate to Facebook's website. Sign in, then select the Messaging icon in the top bar.
Send Facebook messages using a third-party app
Yes, we are seriously suggesting swapping one third-party app for another. You asked the question whether avoiding Messenger is possible, and we are simply answering it. We apologise if it's not the answer you want to hear.
In our defence, the reason you don't want to use Messenger may have more to do with the fact you don't like Messenger than the idea that you just don't like messaging apps.
Friendly, available for both Android and iOS, is a fully fledged Facebook app that has the incredible idea of keeping the messaging section within its digital walls. Android users can also try Lite Messenger.
Read next: Best Facebook Messenger Tips & Tricks