Facebook’s latest tweak goes beyond just the social network itself — instead, the Facebook team is looking to bring its whole family of apps closer together.
The new feature, which was first spotted by Tech Crunch, appears to be popping in the Facebook app for select iOS users as a means to streamline their use of the entire FB app family, bundling notifications for Facebook, Messenger, and Instagram all in one place.
It’s a welcome move for some more social media synergy, allowing users to quickly cycle back and forth through their various profiles on the platforms. You won’t have to open and close the separate apps every time you get pinged with a notification — you can just quickly flip back and forth from your News Feed.
Check out the change in the icon in the upper right hand corner of the screen: instead of the Messenger logo and a shortcut straight to the standalone chat app, you’ll now see your profile pic and the total number of notifications throughout all of your separate handles.
When you tap on the top notifications, a new menu will pop up, allowing you to check on your Instagram, Messenger, and, of course, Facebook notifications and jump directly to your profile.
Facebook rolls these tests out to users regularly, so there’s a good chance you’ve piloted a feature or two throughout your time on the app. Just because you test one feature doesn’t mean you have access to others, either; my colleague who provided screenshots of the notification bundling doesn’t have access to the reorganized, bubble-filled navigation bar that I noticed last weekend on my version of the app.
That A/B testing protocol was echoed in Facebook’s official statement on the feature, which was provided to Tech Crunch (Facebook reps haven’t yet responded to our own request for comment).
“We are conducting a very small test to make it easier for people to discover and connect with the people and things they care about,” they wrote. “We’re exploring ways to help people switch more easily between their Facebook, Messenger, and Instagram accounts.”
For now, we only spotted the bundling on Facebook, although Tech Crunch reports the feature has surfaced for some users on Instagram and Messenger, too. There’s no word on whether or not WhatsApp, another Facebook-owned platform, will be rolled into the group too, or if it’ll be left out in the cold, separated from the rest of its family.