Facebook will delete all the photos users have synced from the main Facebook app if they do not install its dedicated photo-sharing app Moments before 7 July.
The social network began notifying usersthat it would soon delete all their synced photos if they did not install the app, which was released in June 2015.
Many users used the photo syncing feature, which was introduced in 2012 and promised unlimited automatic photo uploads from users’ smartphones into a private album on the social network, as a way of backing up their photo collection in much the same way Google’s Photos, Yahoo’s Flickr and Apple’s iCloud Photos currently do.
In January Facebook discontinued support for automatic syncing of photos from the main Facebook app, forcing users to install the Moments app should they wish to continue automatically uploading their photos. Now Facebook will delete all their synced photos unless users install the Moments app.
Facebook said: “Photos you privately synced from your phone to Facebook will be deleted soon. Earlier this year, they were moved to Moments, a new app from Facebook. If you want to keep these photos, download and log into Moments before 7 July. If you don’t want Moments, download these photos directly to your computer from your Facebook profile before 7 July.”
The removal of the synced photos won’t affect any photos or videos shared on Facebook separately from the synced album, while users are being given the chance to download the photos before they are deleted.
The move shouldn’t come as a surprise; Facebook recently did a very similar thing with its Messenger app. By removing chat from the main Facebook app and forcing users to install the dedicated Messenger app to keep sending Facebook instant messages on smartphones it propelled the app to more than 900 million users.
In doing so it created another massive platform, leveraging its existing user base to drive adoption and attract new users that may not necessarily have had Facebook accounts before.
By turning off photo syncing from the main Facebook app, and now threatening to delete synced photos, it has forced Moments up into the top 100 free Android and iOS apps in the UK, and made it the third most popular free app on iOS and second most popular on Google Play in the US, as well as topping the charts for photo and video apps.