According to a new dialogue on the mobile Facebook website, the company will soon be forcing users of the service to download the native Android Facebook Messenger app in order to even view conversations.
The mobile site has been pushing users to download Messenger for some time, but it in the last few days, Facebook has begun much more aggressively shuffling mobile web users who go to the chat (messages) tab over to the Messenger app. Simply tapping the "messages" tab on the mobile web UI will immediately send you through to the Play Store listing for Messenger without any warning whatsoever. At that point, you can hit back or multitask to the browser, where you'll see the above splash with an ominous message:
Soon you'll only be able to view your messages from Messenger.
The implication here is obvious: mobile web Facebook messaging and conversations are going away. The "x" in the top-right corner can be tapped, revealing your conversation list. But the moment you tap a conversation? You guessed it: back to the Messenger Play Store listing! Hit back again, and the above splash reappears, at which point you can hit the "x" again, finally revealing your selected conversation and allowing you to message normally.
Still, it seems Facebook is making its message on messaging clear: get your conversations out of the mobile web UI and onto the Messenger app, because soon you won't have a choice. There is no reason to believe this will affect the desktop web version of the chat feature.