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Facebook might reintegrate Messenger back into its main app

Researcher Jane Wong discovers tests showing minimal chat features could be reintroduced.

Facebook Announced Plans To Integrate WhatsApp, Instagram And Messenger : Illustration

Facebook Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp are merging chat features.

Thierry Chesnot / Getty Images

Facebook might be considering reintegrating some of its Messenger service back into its primary app.

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.

"For now, this new 'Chats' section seems to only contain the basic chat functionalities," she said. "To give message reactions, make a call, send photos, etc, you'd still have to open the Messenger app."

If Facebook reintegrated messaging into the main app, it would be an about-turn for the company, which in 2014 insisted that to keep using Messenger on a mobile device, it'd be mandatory for users to download the standalone app. Since that time, Facebook acquired WhatsApp and is currently preparing to integrate chat and messaging functions across the two services, as well as with Instagram.

A Facebook spokeswoman said the company doesn't have any additional details to share at this time.

"We are testing ways to improve the messaging experience for people within the Facebook app," the spokeswoman said. "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." 

CNET's Queenie Wong contributed to this report. 

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Originally published April 12, 10:51 a.m. PT.
Update, 12:13 p.m. PT: Includes statement from Facebook.