I logged in on Facebook today and noticed a new change on Facebook: A new URL, that is now web.facebook.com and it makes a lot of sense in a way.
Internet based companies usually have a variety of products or services which are given unique URLs that are based on the company’s main URL. Take for example Twitter, it has several custom URLs for its different services: Their blog, checking your first tweet, ads platform and among others. Facebook too has different URLs for its different services like how some are based on fb.com like Instant articles & Newsroom and others like Facebook Research and Facebook Developers are based on facebook.com.
As you know, when Facebook was founded over a decade ago, it was primarily on desktop and then later transitioned to mobile. Most of Facebook’s users use it on mobile and that is why the company has been focusing on mobile for a while. On desktop however, the “original” Facebook has received updates over time so as to catch up with the mobile apps but in honesty, the mobile experience is better.
We have seen other applications establishing desktop versions of their own apps. WhatsApp brought its services to the web under the URL web.whatsapp.com and Skype with web.skype.com. In the case of WhatsApp however, it is tethered to your phone so when your phone doesn’t have an internet connection, it stops working.
Why the change? Well, Facebook’s problem is rather unique. Facebook is both the name of the company and the app. The Facebook ecosystem has grown in leaps and bounds over the decade and the “original” Facebook website client is now used as a “client” by the millions of users worldwide. There was a need to solve this by denoting Facebook via desktop as “web” in order to make it more sensible. If the company was not a social network as it is right now, facebook.com would be the official website for the company.
This does not mean that if you unconsciously type facebook.com on the search box and hit enter thanks to muscle memory it won’t let you login. You will be redirected nonetheless to the new URL. At this rate, we might see other social networks like Twitter making this change too, because just like Facebook, it has the same exact problem.