Facebook to test reintroducing voice and video calls to main app

Previously, the feature was only available to mobile users in the separate Messenger app

Facebook, Messenger and Instagram apps are are displayed on an iPhone on Wednesday, March 13, 2019, in New York. Facebook says it is aware of outages on its platforms including Facebook, Messenger and Instagram and is working to resolve the issue. (AP Photo/Jenny Kane)

Facebook is testing bringing voice and video calls back to its main app, seven years after it separated them to its side Messenger platform.

Some users, including those in the US, will be able to start enjoying the feature from their main Facebook app this week. The reintroduction of the feature is currently only in trial mode, and is designed to reduce the need for users to switch between apps when trying to keep in contact with friends.

It comes after Facebook tested the reintroduction of a limited version of the Messenger inbox in the main app last autumn.

Connor Hayes, director of product management at Messenger, told Bloomberg that Facebook is beginning to think of Messenger as a service rather than a standalone app, and as such users can expect to see its features slowly become integrated across Facebook’s platforms, including Instagram, Oculus and Portal devices.

He said Messenger is the “connective tissue for people to be together when apart, regardless of which service they’re choosing to use".

Facebook started enabling messaging capabilities between Instagram and Messenger in September 2020, and has plans to introduce WhatsApp into the mix, too. Facebook’s chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has argued that integrating the company’s messaging services would be beneficial to users, allowing them reach more people and reducing the need to download or jump between separate apps.

Facebook confirmed to The Verge that users in several countries would be able to start using voice and video calls in the main Facebook app, for stressed that for a “full-featured messaging, audio and video call experience, people should continue using Messenger.”

Updated: August 24th 2021, 2:12 PM