It looks like Facebook is trying to make Moments follow in the footsteps of Messenger and become their next big app. On January 10, 2016, the sultan of social media is shutting down its photo-syncing service. Users have the option to download a zip file containing their photos or start using Facebookâ€™s Moments app instead.
Itâ€™s a move that isnâ€™t without precedence. Since its release this summer, Facebook had been advertising and promoting Moments more than most of its other standalone apps. Moments has seen some viral success, with users beginning to use to save and share photos privately with their friends. It seems this popularity encouraged Facebook, so now theyâ€™re throwing their full weight into it.
This is the latest example of what seems to be a new method of operations for Facebook. In the past, Facebook would develop dozens of features and apps and see what actually got used. Things that never took off â€“ like Rooms or Slingshot â€“ got trimmed away. Things that stuck to the wall got to stay around. Now Facebook has a new strategy that involves shuffling users to the features it wants them to use. We saw this for the first time when Facebook removed Messenger integration from the Facebook mobile app, forcing users to download the standalone Messenger. It looks like photo-syncing users are the ones getting strong-armed this time.
Those who use photo sync began receiving the following mobile notification at the beginning of the month:
Important Info About Your Photos
Photos youâ€™ve privately synced from your phone will move to our new app Moments on Jan 10, and photo syncing on Facebook will end.
From here, users are shown the number of their friends who use Moments and have the option to get the app in just a few taps. Since Facebook started sending out this notification earlier this month, Moments has rocketed upward from the bottom of the Top 100 Apps list in the App Store, reaching altitudes as high as #3.
Web users started seeing a similar message when viewing their synced photos.
So the same service will continue to be offered, you just have to make sure you download the Moments app to use it. The jury is still out as to what this means for European Facebookers since Moments uses facial recognition to identify people in pictures by default, and regional privacy regulations have prevented the app from being released there.