Facebook Makes Using Its Messenger App Simple Again

Photo: Martin Bureau, Getty

Facebook’s redesign for its Messenger app proves two things: 1) Facebook’s leaning hard into its Stories format after the feature’s success on Instagram; and 2) Yes, those chatbots really were the worst.

Facebook’s ditching the Discover tab, a hub for various business tools and games, among other updates to help streamline the private messaging app’s design. The company first announced plans for the change in August, and now TechCrunch reports that Facebook has commenced the switchover this week, so you might have already noticed the update.

It’s a complete 180 from Facebook’s previous push to make the app a one-stop-shop for “connecting with all the people and businesses you care about,” with added bloat like games, shopping, and confusing chatbots to serve as automated middlemen between users and businesses.

Now Facebook’s boiled it down to just two tabs, Chats and People, with the latter defaulting to a page for Stories, the 24-hour photo and video highlight reel Facebook more or less ripped off Snapchat (albeit to greater success). A sub-tab adjacent to Stories shows which friends are currently online. 

Given the success Facebook’s had so far with Instagram’s Stories feature, which averages 500 million daily users as of January, it’s no wonder they’re bumping up this feature’s real estate. And, of course, since Stories also display ads, more eyes on users’ Stories means more revenue for Facebook.

Though demoted, any content previously on the Discover tab isn’t gone for good. Now you’ll just have to access it via the Messenger’s search bar. Though, with users now having to purposefully seek them out, businesses may be turned off of any ideas about expanding on the platform. Facebook did not immediately respond to Gizmodo’s request for comment. That said, a company spokesperson told TechCrunch that Facebook remains committed to promoting businesses on its platforms and that they still play an important part of Messenger.

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