Facebook wants to be everywhere, except BlackBerry

BlackBerry's purple patch is well and truly over after Facebook pulled support for its social media app from the struggling mobile platform, with WhatsApp set to follow suit by years' end.

Claire Reilly Former Principal Video Producer
Claire Reilly was a video host, journalist and producer covering all things space, futurism, science and culture. Whether she's covering breaking news, explaining complex science topics or exploring the weirder sides of tech culture, Claire gets to the heart of why technology matters to everyone. She's been a regular commentator on broadcast news, and in her spare time, she's a cabaret enthusiast, Simpsons aficionado and closet country music lover. She originally hails from Sydney but now calls San Francisco home.
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  • Webby Award Winner (Best Video Host, 2021), Webby Nominee (Podcasts, 2021), Gold Telly (Documentary Series, 2021), Silver Telly (Video Writing, 2021), W3 Award (Best Host, 2020), Australian IT Journalism Awards (Best Journalist, Best News Journalist 2017)
Claire Reilly
3 min read

Say goodbye to tapping out status updates on your BlackBerry.


BlackBerry is facing death by a billion cuts after Facebook pulled support for its social media apps from the mobile platform.

The decision by Facebook, which last year passed the milestone of 1 billion people using its service in one day, follows on the heels of a similar move from WhatsApp, which announced last month that it would pull BlackBerry support for its messaging app by the end of 2016.

After heady days as the phone of choice for the likes of Hillary Clinton, BlackBerry has faced a decline in recent years. While Android and Apple account for 58 percent and 39 percent of smartphone sales in the US (based on recent figures from Kantar Worldpanel) BlackBerry falls under the unfortunate "other" category, which accounts for 0.1 percent of sales.

Watch this: Facebook and Whatsapp say goodbye to BlackBerry

With sales growth at rock bottom, one of the few things going for BlackBerry is its existing user base of faithful customers. But now that support for the world's most popular social media and messaging apps is gone (like WhatsApp, Facebook also has the over-the-top messaging app, Messenger), there are fewer reasons for rusted-on users to stay.

BlackBerry showed positivity in the face of crippling odds, announcing the loss of Facebook support late last week in a blog post titled "Great Apps on BlackBerry!"

"The app landscape continues to evolve, and in ways that are not always within our control," wrote BlackBerry Senior Marketing Manager Lou Gazzola.

"We are extremely disappointed in their decision as we know so many users love these apps. We fought back to work with WhatsApp and Facebook to change their minds, but at this time, their decision stands (but let them know how you feel on social media, using the hashtag #ILoveBB10Apps)."

While BlackBerry fans have taken to Twitter to voice their support, the original blog post was met with plenty of commenters who saw the news as the last straw.

"I too am upset that BB10 Leap users will lose What's App and FB...I have to use my Samsung tablet to get the experience," wrote one user, Leslie Clarke. "BB will lose all its users who will have no choice but to switch or use other devices for basic messaging & social media."

Another bemoaned the lack of developer support.

"You are so committed to developers that you have published no roadmap for your developer tools for how many months now?" wrote user, Relevant. "Developers are not foolish enough to spend time on a platform that BlackBerry themselves are not spending much time on, are they?"

Users hoping to get by on third-party apps are also likely to be out of luck, with BlackBerry noting that Facebook had opted to "discontinue support of their essential APIs." These APIs are the very thing that developers build on when they create their own third-party apps.

Apps for Facebook and WhatsApp make up five of the top 10 free apps on the BlackBerry World app store, three of which are made by BlackBerry or third party developers. But in a sign of what the future of apps could look like on the platform, the two BlackBerry-made Facebook apps are now nothing more than links to Facebook's mobile website.