Facebook Chats could be a new, bare bones alternative to Messenger

You might soon be able to send messages through the Facebook app again − five years after the functionality was removed and made exclusive to the Messenger app.

Over the weekend, Jane Manchun Wong, a well-known app researcher who frequently spots upcoming and experimental features in popular apps, discovered a new test that Facebook is currently conducting around Messenger.

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The social network is toying with the idea of allowing users to message people from the main Facebook app again, without having to fire up the Messenger (or Messenger Lite) app.

It’s a bit of a throwback to 2014, which is when the social media firm decided to remove all messaging functionality from the main Facebook app.

However, this doesn’t mean Facebook is preparing to kill off the Messenger app. Wong says that the Facebook app offers a very stripped back version of Messenger, called ‘Chats’.

“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,” she tweeted.

Wong added: “Facebook Chats will prompt user to Open in Messenger if the message contains the feature that Facebook app doesn’t have. This is another indication that Facebook Chats isn’t intended to replace Messenger, but to improve the interoperability between Facebook products.”

Earlier this year, Facebook revealed that, in the near future, Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp users will be able to send messages across platforms.

While Facebook hasn’t confirmed whether or not this test has anything to do with that plan, it has confirmed that it is experimenting with messages.

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“We are testing ways to improve the messaging experience for people within the Facebook app,” the company told the Verge.

“Messenger remains a feature-rich, stand-alone messaging app with over a billion people using it monthly to connect with the people and businesses they care about most. We do not have any additional details to share at this time.”

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