Something to look forward to: The ability to message friends from within the Facebook mobile app used to be one of its best features, but the company removed that functionality nearly nine years ago, turning Messenger into a separate app. For those longing for the days of a single app where you could browse feeds and chat with friends, Meta has some good news: the two services are reunited.
Meta made the announcement in a post celebrating Facebook’s achievement of reaching an all-time high of 2 billion daily active users globally. The post seems mostly focused on reassuring people that “contrary to other reports, Facebook is neither dead nor dying, but in fact alive and thriving.”
Meta seems to think the news about bringing Messenger back to the main Facebook app is only worth one sentence deep in the post. It states that the ability to access Messenger’s inbox from within Facebook is being tested and that testing will be expanded soon. We still don’t know if Messenger will also return to the mobile browser version of Facebook.
“Ultimately, we want communication and sharing to be easy and convenient for people, whether in the Messenger app or right inside Facebook,” Facebook leader Tom Allison wrote.
When Facebook (as it was called at the time) decided to separate Messenger from the main app in 2014, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that “our goal is to focus development efforts on making Messenger the best possible mobile messaging experience possible and avoid the confusion of using separate messaging experiences.” via mobile on Facebook.”
Reports that Messenger was returning to the Facebook app have been around since 2019 when the app’s researcher Jane Manchun Wong spotted the test. There have been several reports about the feature being tested lately as well.
Bringing Messenger back into the Facebook app “will make it easier for people to share what they discover on Facebook via messaging, when, where and how it best suits their needs, without having to switch to another app,” Allison writes, which sounds like Meta is making the change to compete with TikTok, which has a feature Inline messaging.
A lot of Meta posts seem to be arguing defensively against reports that Facebook has lost its crown as the number one social networking site and has a reputation for being the “old guy” platform. This is certainly the case for teens, who prefer YouTube, TikTok, Snapchat, and Instagram to the social network, although according to the New York Times, many Gen Z Instagram users are unaware that their posts are appearing on Facebook.