Something to look forward to: Being able to message friends from within Facebook’s mobile app used to be one of its better features, but the company removed this function almost nine years ago, turning Messenger into a separate app. For those who yearn for the days of a single application where you can browse feeds and chat with friends, Meta has some good news: the two services are reuniting.
Meta made the announcement in a post celebrating the milestone of Facebook reaching an all-time high of 2 billion global daily active users. The post mostly seems focused on assuring people that “Contrary to reports otherwise, Facebook is not dead nor dying, but in fact alive and thriving.”
It appears that Meta believes news of it bringing Messenger back to the main Facebook app is only worth a single sentence deep into the post. It states that the ability to access the Messenger inbox from within Facebook is being tested and that the testing will be expanded soon. We still don’t know if Messenger will also be brought back to the mobile browser version of Facebook.
“Ultimately, we want it to be easy and convenient for people to connect and share, whether in the Messenger app or directly within Facebook,” wrote Facebook leader Tom Alison.
When Facebook (as it was still called back then) 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 mobile messaging experience possible and avoid the confusion of having separate Facebook mobile messaging experiences.”
Reports that Messenger was returning to the Facebook app have been around since 2019 when app researcher Jane Manchun Wong spotted testing. There have been several reports of the feature being tested in more recent times, too.
Alison writes that bringing Messenger back to the Facebook app will “make it easier for people to share what they discover on Facebook via messaging, when, where and how it suits their needs, without needing to switch to another app,” which sounds like Meta is making the change to compete with TikTok, which has a built-in messaging feature.
Much of Meta’s post seems to be defensively arguing against reports that Facebook has lost its crown as the number one social media site and has a reputation for being the ‘old person’s’ platform. That’s certainly the case for teens, who prefer YouTube, TikTok, Snapchat, and Instagram over the social network, though according to the New York Times, many Gen Z Instagram users are unaware that their posts are appearing on Facebook.