Facebook Messenger App To Be Ditched, Researcher Claims

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Messaging service may be incorporated back into main Facebook app, after trial was spotted by researcher

Facebook is said to be testing a significant change for its Facebook Messenger app, after a clue was offered up by a researcher.

The researcher found that the social networking giant has been testing whether to delete the Messenger app altogether, and instead reincorporate Messenger chats back into the main Facebook app.

Facebook redesigned its Messenger app last October to include a more simplified look and feel, after its studies showed that users value simplicity to help them maintain close contact with friends.

Messenger demise?

But all this could be about to change after the discovery by researcher Jane Manchun Wong, after she tweeted that “Facebook has basically confirmed they’re testing bringing chats back to the app.”

She said that the testing she had spotted would see the Messenger app icon remain, but instead of launching a standalone app, it would open the main Facebook app and take the user directly to a section called ‘Chats.’

Facebook of course released the Messenger service way back in 2011, and it used to be part of the main Facebook app until April 2014, when the social networking giant decided to spin it out as a standalone app.

Facebook began end-to-end encryption for Messenger conservations back in 2016 to bring in line with the likes of WhatsApp (which Facebook also owns), but privacy questions remain about Messenger in light of the past scandals at the firm.

Matters were not helped in March when Facebook was forced to deny claims it had surreptitiously collected Android call, text data for years.

Integrated messaging

But why would Facebook be seeking to remove the Messenger app as a standalone service?

Well it is known that Facebook plans to integrate the back end of its popular messaging services, WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram, which have at least 2.6 billion users between them.

This could be a trial of integrated messaging across all its services.

The integration plans, which were first reported in late January, are controversial because they would tighten Facebook’s control over the services’ previously independent operations, raising further questions around security, competition and data protection.

Facebook aims to complete this messaging integration in late 2019 or early 2020.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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