Meta tests bringing back in-app messaging on Facebook

8 Mar 2023

Image: © prima91/

Since 2016, Facebook users wanting to send a message have needed to switch to the Messenger app. This may no longer be necessary.

Meta has revealed that Facebook is testing a feature that will allow users to access their messages without needing to switch to the Messenger app.

Facebook head Tom Alison announced yesterday (7 March) that the Meta-owned app is testing the ability for people to access their Messenger inbox within the Facebook app to make it more convenient for users to communicate.

In-app messaging capabilities were removed from Facebook in 2016 to incentivise people to use Messenger, a move that attracted widespread criticism at the time. Competitors such as TikTok, Twitter, Snapchat and LinkedIn all allow messaging without needing to switch to another app.

“Over the coming year, we’ll build more ways to integrate messaging features in 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,” Alison wrote in a blogpost.

Facebook now has more than 2bn daily active users, the highest of any social media app. Alison said more than 140bn messages are sent across Meta apps every day. This includes Instagram, where Reels are shared nearly 1bn times daily through direct messaging.

Community chats on Facebook groups have also seen an increase in uptake as people turn to “messaging as a way to build community”.

“We started introducing community chats to some Facebook Groups last year as a way for people to connect more deeply with their online communities in real time around the topics they care about. And the early results are promising,” Alison said.

The number of people trying community chats on Facebook and Messenger increased by 50pc in December, according to him.

Alison’s announcement comes in the context of a wider push towards incorporating AI in Meta’s family of apps. Late last month, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed the company is making a new product group that will “turbocharge” the company’s efforts in generative AI.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic