- Facebook Messenger is getting a design overhaul that is soon rolling out to users, TechCrunch reports.
- The redesign has two significant changes: the removal of the Discover tab, which houses chatbots from games and brands; and an increased emphasis on Facebook Stories.
- By prioritising Stories in the Messenger app, Facebook is likely trying to replicate the success it found after bringing the feature to Instagram. The Stories format itself was borrowed from Snapchat.
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Facebook is trying to replicate the success it found adding Stories to Instagram by bringing the feature to the forefront of another one of its apps: Messenger.
A redesign to Messenger, an offshoot of Facebook's direct messaging function, has already started rolling out to users, TechCrunch reported Friday. Screenshots of the redesigned app - provided by social media manager Jeff Higgins to Business Insider - show that one of the most significant changes is the added emphasis on Facebook Stories, the feature where friends can share 24-hour photo and video highlights.
Messenger will soon have a more slimmed-down look with a minimalist aesthetic. Gone is the Discover tab, which currently houses the hundreds of thousands of automated chatbots that Facebook users can message to ask questions to businesses, play games, and even shop from brands. Instead of Stories appearing as small video previews atop the list of online Facebook friends, Stories get their own tab in the new Messenger app.
Facebook is likely betting that giving Stories more real estate will have a similar effect in Messenger that it has had in Instagram. Stories has been a runaway success for Instagram since it launched in August 2016. As of this January, Instagram Stories had 500 million daily users.
While Stories has been a boon to Facebook and its family of apps, the company can't take credit for the idea. Instagram borrowed the format and idea from Snapchat, but found much more success with the feature: Two years after introducing Stories, Instagram had twice as many people as Snapchat that were using Stories daily.
The makeover of Messenger's look seems to be Facebook's reaction to changing attitudes and desires among users. Facebook is emphasizing the features users love, while hiding away those that don't. Facebook bet big that chatbots would be the communication choice of the future when it launched them in Messenger in 2016. However, these bots ended up being hard to use and confusing for users.
Facebook did not respond to Business Insider's request for comment. A Facebook spokesperson told TechCrunch that the Messenger redesign is rolling out to users "in the next week."
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