How to send Facebook messages without the Messenger app

Not happy that Facebook now forces you to use its Messenger app? Here's how to beat the company at its own game.

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Facebook

If you're a Facebook user, you're probably aware by now that you can no longer send and receive messages from within the mobile app. The company now requires you to use the standalone Messenger app for mobile chats.

I suspect most users had the same reaction I did: Uh, no. Why should I install a second app just so I can trade the occasional message with a Facebook friend? It reminds me of when Apple ripped podcast management out of the Music app and forced users into a seriously awful standalone app.

Fortunately, there are two ways to deal with this.

First, you can open Facebook in your mobile browser, sign into your account, and access the service via its Web interface.

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Open (then bookmark) Facebook in your mobile browser to continue enjoying integrated messaging. Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

There are a few advantages here, not the least of which is integrated messaging, just like you're used to. This browser-based version also provides a nearly identical feature set and navigation menu, so there's virtually no learning curve. And as noted over at ITworld, the Facebook app can put a dent in your battery life, meaning you're actually better off deleting it and relying on the Web version instead.

So to make that your permanent option, just bookmark the mobile Facebook site (m.facebook.com), then add a shortcut to your Home screen.

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Facebook Messenger does offer some benefits, like sharing your location with friends. Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

Your second option? Suck it up and use Facebook Messenger, especially if you're a heavy chatter. Annoying as it is to have to switch to a different app, Messenger itself is fairly robust, offering easy ways to create groups and send photos, videos, and even voice clips. It's chock full of emoji (or "stickers," to use FB parlance), if you're into that sort of thing, and you can use it to voice-call other Messenger users at no charge.

In other words, before you abandon Facebook in a huff, at least give Messenger a try. You might find it useful -- and at just 35MB (for the iOS version, anyway -- Android size varies), it's a reasonably compact app.

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