Facebook scraps IE6 support in effort to improve chat

Facebook has admitted that its Chat feature works less well than it should, and is promising a revamped version.

“Many of you have told us that sometimes your Chat session comes and goes or even stops completely,” says Rodrigo Schmidt, a Facebook software engineer on the Chat team, on the Facebook blog.

“We’re working hard to end those interruptions so that your experience is stable and consistent.”

The company’s had consistent grumbling from users that chat sessions often get cut off without warning. The feature, launched two years ago, is partly a victim of its own success, as it was never expected to become so widely used.

According to Schmidt, a number of improvements have already been made over the last week or two, making Chat faster and more stable and fixing bugs.

Unfortunately for some, though, the next set of changes won’t be supported in Internet Explorer 6. The changeover will be made on September 15 to give people time to upgrade.

“After evaluating the alternatives, we’ve decided to make rapid improvements and provide the best Chat experience possible, which means we will no longer support Internet Explorer 6 browsers,” says Schmidt.

Despite having been superseded by newer versions, IE6 is still the second most popular browser, with 17 percent of the worldwide market, acccording to Net Applications.

Nevertheless, the writing’s on the wall for the six-year-old browser. Earlier this year, Google, too, announced that it was to phase out support.