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Facebook’s latest test brings back in-app messaging

Photo credit: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto/Getty Images

Facebook CEO Tom Alison announced today that the company is testing the ability for users to access their Messenger inbox from within the Facebook app. Back in 2016, Facebook removed messaging features from its mobile web app to push people to the Messenger app, which angered many users.

Now the company is testing a reversal of that decision. In a blog post, Alison said the social network is currently testing this change, noting that Facebook plans to expand the testing soon. The change comes as Facebook and other meta-owned platforms seek to compete with TikTok.

“Over the coming year, we will continue to develop ways to integrate messaging capabilities into Facebook,” Alison said in the blog post. “Ultimately, we want it to be easy and convenient for people to connect and share, whether it’s on the Messenger app or directly on Facebook.”

Over the past year, Facebook has moved away from focusing on an app for close friends and family and instead positioned itself as a discovery platform. Last June, the social network revamped its “Home” feed to improve content discovery. Back then, Facebook said the home feed serves as a discovery engine for users to find new content and creators through algorithmic recommendations.

The move hinted at Meta’s ongoing desire to go after TikTok, his biggest threat. Given that Facebook has focused on being a discovery engine, it’s not surprising that it’s trying to bring back in-app messaging. This allows it to present itself as a place where users can discuss content right after they’ve discovered it. Alison notes that it’s important for Facebook to make it easier for people to share what they discover on Facebook via messaging without having to switch to another app. As TikTok presents new content to its users and also provides a place to discuss DMs, Facebook likely feels it needs to do the same to compete.

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As part of today’s announcement, Alison said that Facebook has gotten off to a great start this year and that the social network is “thriving”.

“Contrary to other reports, Facebook is neither dead nor dying, but thriving with 2 billion daily active users,” Alison wrote. “People use Facebook not only to connect with friends and family, but also to discover and engage with what matters most to them.”

In its fourth-quarter earnings reported last month, the company reported fourth-quarter revenue of $32.17 billion, beating estimates, although it was still down 4% year-over-year and for the third consecutive quarter represents declines. However, the stock plummeted after its gain, thanks to Meta’s promises of “a year of efficiency” and its toned-down focus on the Metaverse in favor of AI work.

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