Normally when Facebook makes a change, everyone notices. This year alone Facebook has made headlines for its acquisition of WhatsApp and for the unveiling (and subsequent legal issues) for its standalone Paper app. Unlike those news items, Facebook has quietly discontinued its Poke and standalone camera app from the App Store, Facebook confirmed to The Verge.
Poke, which began as one of the original features for the world's most popular social networking site, operated much the same way as other disappearing messaging apps. Most notably, it was similar to Snapchat, who coincidentally Facebook tried to acquire earlier this year prior to purchasing WhatsApp. Camera, who had similar features to another Facebook acquisition Instagram, was discontinued as well.
"Camera, on the other hand, was a largely well-regarded app that was at one point used to upload multiple photos to Facebook. Prior to Camera's launch, you could only pick photos one by one to upload from a smartphone. Camera's attractive image picker eventually made its way into Facebook's main app on both iPhone and Android, where you can still find it today," The Verge writes.
While Facebook has streamlined some of its apps be removing Poke and Camera from the App Store, recently it made its mobile users download its separate Facebook Messenger app to continue sending message with mobile device. No longer are users allowed to message one another directly through the Facebook app. When clicking on the message icon users will be directed to download Facebook Messenger or, if already downloaded, the app will open.
In February Facebook announced the acquisition of WhatsApp for $19 billion, following its failure of purchase Snapchat for $3 billion. At the time of the acquisition, each month, more than 450 million people used WhatsApp. Facebook said 70 percent of those 450 million users are daily users.
"WhatsApp is on a path to connect 1 billion people. The services that reach that milestone are all incredibly valuable," said Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and CEO, in a statement. "I've known Jan for a long time and I'm excited to partner with him and his team to make the world more open and connected."
“WhatsApp's extremely high user engagement and rapid growth are driven by the simple, powerful and instantaneous messaging capabilities we provide,” said WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum. "We're excited and honored to partner with Mark and Facebook as we continue to bring our product to more people around the world.”
Following Facebook's massive acquisition of WhatsApp, the Federal Trade Commission sent a precautionary letter to Facebook warning that it must adhere to WhatsApp privacy/security standards that its users agreed to when they signed up with the messaging service.
"As you know, both companies collect data from consumers but make different promises and statements with respect to consumers' privacy,” Federal Trade Commission Bureau of Consumer Protection, Jessica Rich writes in a letter sent in April. "In particular ... WhatsApp has made a number of promises about the limited nature of the data it collects, maintains, and shares with third parties -promises that exceed the protections currently promised to Facebook users. We want to make clear that, regardless of the acquisition; WhatsApp must continue to honor these promises to consumers."