Messenger is returning to the Facebook mobile app after nine years away

Meta wants Facebook, not TikTok, to be 'the best place for social discovery and sharing.'

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It's been so long since Meta cut Messenger out of the Facebook mobile app that Windows Phone was still somewhat of a thing at the time. Almost nine years later, Meta is ready to bring them back together. "We are testing the ability for people to access their Messenger inbox within the Facebook app and you’ll see us expand this testing soon," Facebook head Tom Alison wrote. "Ultimately, we want it to be easy and convenient for people to connect and share, whether in the Messenger app or directly within Facebook."

When Meta removed Messenger from the Facebook app in 2014, it said that "our goal is to focus development efforts on making Messenger the best mobile messaging experience possible and avoid the confusion of having separate Facebook mobile messaging experiences." It's unclear whether Meta has any plans to bring messaging back to the mobile browser version of Facebook. It started pushing mobile web users toward the Messenger app in 2016. In any case, having one fewer app to juggle on your phone is probably not a bad thing. You might be able to send messages to Instagram users from the Facebook app too.

Meta made the announcement in a bizarrely framed blog post about Facebook's focus areas for 2023. The post seeks to assure people that "Facebook is not dead nor dying," as it now has more than 2 billion users.


In an effort to become more competitive with TikTok, Meta is attempting to shift Facebook away from an app where you keep up with friends and family to more of an entertainment and discovery platform. It's trying to "make Facebook the best place for social discovery and sharing," as Alison put it in the blog post.

A key reason why Meta is bringing messaging back to the Facebook app is to "make it easier for people to share what they discover on Facebook via messaging, when, where and how it suits their needs, without needing to switch to another app," Alison wrote. TikTok enables users to share videos that they stumble upon with their friends through built-in direct messaging. So, on one hand Meta is reversing course and going back to an older way of doing things, but on the other it is, once again, aping a competitor.