Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

By Stan Greene
Observer Staff Writer 

Facebook Users Told: Install "Moments," Or Your Photos Will Be Deleted

Anxious Users Forced to Download Yet Another App To Their Phones


Facebook sent notifications including emails, that synced photos will soon be deleted unless they download and install the Moments app.

Users have pretty much trashed Facebook online after they received notifications including emails, alerting them that their synced photos will soon be deleted unless they download and install the Moments app.

Facebook is about to delete a group of photos on your phone, although you might not know or care that they're there. That's because they're hiding in a private "synced from phone" section of your Facebook photos. This photo section was created in 2012 when Facebook offered you the option to automatically upload all photos captured on your phone to a private folder. This makes it easier to share them at a later date.

Yes, it turns out Messenger isn't the only app Facebook is determined to force you to adopt. The social network is applying the same heavy handed philosophy to its chat app to its Moments photo-uploading tool. And that's what you needed on your phone; another app, right?

The controversial tactic has worked well for Facebook, with Moments currently the number one app on the Apple App Store chart. Frankly this strategy worked quite well for Messenger, which now has over 900 million users.

The move could have some damaging effects on Facebook's reputation, in the short-term at least. Alongside the social media outrage, it has also caused a fair bit of confusion, with panic-stricken users fearing that all their Facebook images will be lost unless they act. Some people are just more anxious than others, Mark Zuckerberg. Shame on you.

Facebook has given users a deadline of July 7 to move to the Moments app or photos will be deleted.

However, now Facebook is attempting to encourage users to adopt the Moments app to share their photos so this feature is being phased out and any photos not extracted from this private folder if you have it before 7 July will be deleted. Moments launched in June 2015, so it's been around for a while, and it offers a more private way to share your photos, addressing the needs of users who want a social platform to share their photos but not in public posts.

Rather than automatically syncing everything to one folder and leaving it there, Moments scans your photos, organising them by events, and identifying your friends' faces so that you can easily share the photos directly with them.

We've seen Facebook attempt to influence user behavior and feature adoption with moves like this before, when they forced you to download their Messenger app by disabling the ability to access and respond to messages in the main app. This is similarly heavy handed - to save these photos if they're not stored on your phone, users can either download them from Facebook onto a computer, or they can download the Moments app before 7 July and transfer them over. Le sigh!


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