Instant messaging was an unwavering part of the initial Facebook experience. But with the rise in the popularity of smartphones, Facebook started recommending users to install Facebook Messenger for a smoother and more winsome experience. With certain updates, it even took the liberty of installing Facebook Messenger on Android phones without seeking any permission from users. Eventually, after it bought WhatsApp in 2014, the social media company started removing the chat functionality from its app region-by-region, thereby forcing users to install the Messenger app separately.
But five years down the line, Facebook is re-evaluating its decisions. Jane Manchun Wong, a rising star in the technology landscape who discovers new features by reverse engineering the code of popular apps like Facebook and Spotify, has revealed that the company might be testing the move to bring Chat option back into the app. While the button on the top right lets users open Messenger currently, Wong says that it could be used to display chats within the Facebook app.
For now, this new “Chats” section seems to only contain the basic chat functionalities. To give message reactions, make a call, send photos, etc, you’d still have to open the Messenger app
— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) April 12, 2019
On the version of the Facebook app being probed by Wong, the Chats menu only offers basic chat functionality. For other features like reactions, sending media, or calling, users must open the Messenger app. Interestingly, there’s an option to send GIF responses. So, we can expect a limited DM interface, quite similar to Instagram. The idea of Facebook bringing all the Messenger features back to the Facebook app seems remote since that could dent the messaging app’s 1.3 billion-plus user base.
While Facebook’s intention behind this move cannot be calculated accurately, chances are that these are part of Zuckerberg’s desire to unify all of Facebook’s apps – including Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram – under a single umbrella for better engagement of users (and presumably, greater control over their data). However, the addition of chat features within the app should be nifty, especially for those who do not use the Messenger by choice.
Want more posts like this delivered to your inbox? Enter your email to be subscribed to our newsletter.