Facebook chat vs Messenger 2023 - key differences and similarities. What you can and can't do on desktop vs. mobile

November 9, 2020

Facebook provides a convenient way for users to engage in private messaging, allowing both individuals and businesses to connect with one another. When using Facebook on a desktop, conversations take place through a feature called Facebook Chat. On the other hand, mobile users can utilize a separate app called Messenger for their messaging needs. With these tools at your disposal, you can effortlessly communicate with friends and even engage in business-to-customer interactions. Whether you're on your computer or mobile device, Facebook ensures that you stay connected and have the ability to engage in meaningful conversations with ease.

They are not the same thing – as an avid user, you will quickly notice that there are certain things that you can do on the desktop that you can’t do on the mobile version of Facebook Chat – and vice versa. What are the key similarities and differences between Facebook Chat and Messenger? See below so it doesn’t take you by surprise when you’re on the go!

  1. Facebook Chat and Messenger Key Similarities
  2. Facebook Chat vs Messenger Key Differences
  3. Conclusion

1. Facebook Chat And Messenger - Key Similarities

Facebook chat and Messenger have evolved over the years to create an ecosystem that is well-integrated. In this ecosystem, there are several things you can do on both desktop and mobile versions of Facebook Chat. These include:

  1. Video and Voice Calls

Facebook chat and Messenger allow users to make video and voice calls. For both desktop and mobile, you are able to initiate either video or voice calls by clicking on the buttons at the top of the chatbox.

  1. Group chats

On both Facebook chat and Messenger, users are able to create group chats and add more than one participant.

  1. Image and video sharing

Users can share videos and images within both Facebook Chat and Messenger.

In addition, they can also share GIFs, emojis, and stickers to react to conversations.

  1. Messenger Rooms

Facebook rooms are video chats between one or more users (maximum 50 people) who are in a particular group. This is like a virtual group hangout. The feature is available on Facebook Chat for desktops and Messenger for mobile. Anyone who is in your chat group can easily join the video chat within the created room for that specific group. In addition, anyone who has the link to the Messenger room can click to join the video chat.

Source: Meta, 2020 https://about.fb.com/news/2020/04/introducing-messenger-rooms/

This is slightly different from the video call feature in that, with a video call you are calling only one user at a time and no one else can join.

  1. Conversations actions

Users can mute conversations between them and other users for a few hours, allowing them to pause chats when they do not have time to attend to them.

In addition, users can also ignore, delete or block other conversations depending on their preferred action.

These conversation actions are also available on both desktop chat and mobile.

  1. Make payments

Facebook allows you to send money via Meta Pay to businesses or people through Facebook Chat and Messenger. It is therefore easy to pay or request payment for services received directly within the private message.

Source: Meta, 2023 https://pay.facebook.com/facebook/

2. Facebook Chat vs Messenger - Key Differences

We have now looked at the key features that are shared between Facebook Chat on desktops and Messenger on mobile in the previous section. In this section, we look at the key differences to understand what we can and cannot do for either platform.

  1. Sending Files

This is a major difference to remember. Facebook chat enables users to share files in various formats like PDF, Word, and Excel documents.

Messenger doesn’t allow mobile users to share files within the app (iOS and Android. However, you can still share a file from your phone. To do that leave Messenger and go to the file you want to share. Then simply click on the “share” button and choose Messenger App. After that, you can select a person or a group you want to send your file to.

  1. Messenger Stories

Recently, Messenger unveiled a fresh addition to its interface – a dedicated tab for stories. This new feature enhances the user experience by providing a designated space specifically for viewing and sharing stories within the Messenger App.

On the desktop Facebook Chat, you cannot view user stories. However, the user stories on the desktop are available at the top of the newsfeed.

  1. Location sharing

This feature is only available on Messenger for mobile and not on Facebook chat for desktops. Instead of sharing your location through a separate app in the chat, Facebook has built a location-sharing feature within Messenger that allows your friends to follow your live location for close to an hour.

Source: Meta, 2017 https://about.fb.com/news/2017/03/introducing-live-location-in-messenger/
  1. Sync and Text Contacts

Aside from being used as a messaging app over the internet, Messenger can also be used as the main texting app for mobile. It syncs all your contacts’ phone numbers and if enabled, takes over as your main texting application. You can enable this feature in your Meta Account Centre.

Facebook Chat for desktops does not have this feature.

  1. Multi-tasking (Bubbles)

The mobile app, Messenger, enables users to multitask between conversations (this applies only to Android users). This is because when chatting with other users, the chat button appears as a small chat head over your mobile screen.

You can switch from another application to the chat head as you wish. You can also have more than one chat and switch between the chat heads.

  1. Play games

Messenger lets you launch and play games with your friends through the chat. However, you cannot play these games directly from Facebook Chat for desktops.

You can also play games in a group chat. There is no need to install any new application in order to play games on mobile.

Source: Meta, 2016 https://about.fb.com/news/2016/11/game-on-you-can-now-play-games-on-messenger/


Having explored the shared features and distinctions between Facebook Chat and Messenger, it's important to highlight that Messenger is not limited to mobile devices alone. In fact, Messenger can also be accessed on desktops through Messenger.com or by downloading the standalone Messenger application from the Windows or Apple store. This availability on a desktop further expands the convenience and accessibility of Messenger, allowing users to seamlessly transition between their mobile devices and desktop computers while enjoying the full range of messaging features. Whether you prefer the convenience of mobile or the comfort of a desktop environment, Messenger ensures that you can stay connected and engaged in conversations across various platforms.

It's worth mentioning that staying updated with the latest developments is essential, as Meta (formerly known as Facebook) frequently introduces new updates and features to enhance the messaging experience. By keeping an eye out for these updates, users can take advantage of the evolving capabilities and improvements brought to both Facebook Chat and Messenger, ensuring they are making the most of their messaging interactions. So, be sure to stay informed and embrace the continuous advancements from Meta to enrich your messaging experience.

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