Facebook Messenger could be returning to the main Facebook app

Photo by Amelia Krales / The Verge

Facebook might be putting Messenger’s chats back into its main social media app. The feature is currently in testing and was spotted by app researcher Jane Manchun Wong, and would mean that you could use a single app to access both the social media platform and elements of the messaging service. The change uses the existing Messenger button in the Facebook app, but takes you to a new “Chats” section instead of opening the separate Messenger app.

Messenger was first released as a standalone app back in 2011, and in 2014 Facebook removed its functionality from its eponymous app. Half a decade later, as Facebook prepares to integrate its messaging services across Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp, the functionality appears to be returning.

In a follow up tweet, Wong notes that this Chats section only contains a limited selection of Messenger’s features. Although you can use it to send and receive messages, you’ll still need to open the standalone Messenger app to make calls, send photos, or send message reactions.

As part of its messaging integration plans, Facebook reportedly intends for each service’s individual app to continue to exist. Wong speculates that the same is true of the Messenger app, which she believes will be kept around to serve a different audience than the main Facebook app.

Wong’s screenshots of the functionality show Facebook’s proposed white redesign for the app, which was first spotted at the beginning of January, and which we got a better look at in March. The interface closely mirrors Facebook Messenger’s white redesign, which was made widely available at the beginning of this year. It’s unclear when the new Messaging integration or interface might become available.

“We are testing ways to improve the messaging experience for people within the Facebook app,” a Facebook spokesperson tells The Verge. “Messenger remains a feature-rich, stand-alone messaging app with over a billion people using it monthly to connect with the people and businesses they care about most. We do not have any additional details to share at this time.”

Update 4/12, 5:20AM ET: Added information about what functionality is available in the new Chats section.

Update 4/12, 3:15PM ET: Added comment from Facebook.

Comments

Facebook cannot really make up its mind, which is visible by the constant changes and fluctuations back and forth

They see people uninstalling facebook, but keeping messenger. If people spend less time on facebook their revenue drops. The ads inmessenger is nothing in comparison.

Exactly what i’ve done, Facebook’s best core feature without the spam.

Yeah they think I’m going to redownload facebook to use messenger. Actually I’ll just be missing out on both.

Could just install an older version of the app or messenger lite?

If they don’t get rid of messenger lite, that is. I probably won’t use an older version honestly. I haven’t even been using messenger at all lately.

Does messenger lite allow gifs yet? No fun without them, it’s what drove me back to full-fat messenger.

Better to use Telegram and Snapchat.

For me there’s Facebook as a web shortcut, Messenger Lite for the occasional share from a friend, and the Events app until Google can replace it with Maps.

Or they see people like me – I stopped using messenger when they removed it from Facebook. I have it now, but don’t use it nearly as much, only when someone sends me a message or if I have a person that doesn’t have any other means of chat communication.

This. Facebook was growing rapidly, and wanted to spin off its messaging into another app to grow the company and brand. And unnecessarily bloated our phones with multiple Facebook apps in the process. Now Facebook is hemorrhaging users and wants to rejoin the apps to consolidate its users. Ugh. Government agencies need to force companies to allow users to take they’re social media history/profile elsewhere. I really hate using Facebook. I only use it for messaging at the moment.

You can use Telegram, Snapchat, Reddit. The problem is people are too lazy to make the change. But once they do, they will totally forget Facebook.

Messenger should return to the mobile web too.

I was one of few people who used Edge on windows regularly. The app on iOS and Android load the old Mobile messenger without redirecting you.

Hopefully they’ll return it to the website too. Can’t be bothered to install Facebook/Messenger apps on my phone.

Some browsers on iOS/Android load the old Messenger site on mobile.

Because that icon turns red when I’m on Facebook. Didn’t even know they had a dedicated site for messenger though, that’s at least a decent alternative for mobile. Cheers!

Makes sense. There’s no way to motetize Messenger.
Unless they disable the stand alone app though, I doubt people will go back to the Facebook app.

They put ads in Messenger. They show up like a separate thread in your list of conversations.

For the longest time (years) after Messenger was released the Facebook app still had the code for Messenger. They simply redirected the buttom to the app or the app store link. There were mods that would let you bypass the redirect.

Just how the mobile web still has basic messenger capabilities. They just detect iOS/Android and again redirect you to the app. I know Edge browser on iOS still goes to the old Mobile messenger.

It’s conceivable they’re doing this so people actually use the Facebook app. I can definitely say I open Messenger like 50 times for every one time I open Facebook.

Simply a ruse to collect WhatsApp phone numbers from Facebook users who never installed Messenger.

If they ditch the standalone app then that’s a shame, as I generally find the Messenger app much less clunky than the Facebook app

View All Comments
Back to top ↑