This has put the app in the unique position of being the number one free app in the App Store, but with about the most dismal rating an app can have.
As of this writing, the current version of the app — released last week, when Facebook beganramping up to the split — has a one-star rating. It seems this can mostly be attributed to the forced nature of the switch; all the previous versions of the app, which is now more than three years old, were generally well received. Previous versions earned a four-star average in the App Store).
On Android, the app still has a four-star average — because unlike the App Store, where ratings are based on the most recent version, Google’s Play’s ratings are cumulative for all versions of the app. But even on Play, recent reviews are overwhelmingly negative.
This trend, by the way, is not limited to the U.S. App Store. The current version of Messenger has a 1 to 2-star average in nearly every country’s App Store, according to analytics tracking firm App Annie.
While user reviews are complaining about everything from poor performance to privacy concerns, it seems most are simply taking issue with the fact the app is being forced onto them.
That disgruntled users would take to app stores to express their displeasure is not surprising, but it does mark a shift from how users previously responded to Facebook changes they didn’t like.
Changes to Facebook — particularly Newsfeed and Timeline redesigns — have been met with resistance from users in the past. But with previous changes, enraged users made Facebook groups or online petitions to express their unhappiness.
Now the fact that Facebook’s biggest changes are taking place on mobile gives outraged users a different platform.
The takeaway? For all the talk of an “unbundling” trend, users simply don’t like being forced into downloading new apps that effectively remove functionality from other apps.
Foursquare and Swarm both still have overwhelmingly negative App Store reviews— with a majority of users citing their displeasure with the”forced” switch — despite the company’s best efforts to transition users from Foursquare to Swarm and rebrand their flagship app.