Researcher Jane Manchun Wong, who is well known for reverse-engineering popular social media apps, posted screenshots to Twitter on Friday of Facebook's app with a Messenger icon in the top right-hand corner, which taps through into the Messenger inbox.
Until 2014, Facebook users were able to send and receive Facebook messages in the primary app.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg confirmed the company has plans to do so but commented that it will not happen any time soon.
In any case, the Times report hints that integrating all three messenger services is a big priority for Facebook in 2019, as Zuckerberg is reportedly pushing for the unification to be done by the end of this year or early 2020.
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At the moment it seems that this is only a test, limited to a small number of people, but it is likely that in view of the integration of the WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger platforms, Zuckerberg wants to return to the origin, bringing a greater number of users to the inside of the main application. But on the whole, most users don't see the point in having a standalone Messenger app.
According to the Verge, the move back is now being tested.
As part of that mission, it looks like Messenger will be coming back to the main Facebook app. You'll still need to install the latter for things like voice and video calling, posting reactions, and even sending photos.
This could change later on, though. While Messenger became its own standalone app in 2011, Facebook eventually stripped the functionality, forcing people to interact with those annoying chat bubbles that gradually filled up your home screen, multiplying like rabbits.