Facebook Messenger gets rid of the Discover tab and demotes chat bots

In an ongoing effort to make its messaging software more nimble and less bloated, Facebook today updated Messenger for iPhone and iPad with a refreshed design that hides the Discover tab form the main view while putting greater emphasis on ephemeral stories and friends.

“We are working on making Messenger smaller and faster so you might notice some changes to the app. A few things are in the works so keep an eye out for features and improvements coming soon,” read release notes accompanying Messenger for iOS version 253.3.

Screenshots revealing the new layout were shared by social media director Jeff Higgins.

By ditching the Discover tab, Messenger has demoted chat bots

Here’s a quick summary of all the changes:

  • Discover: This tab is now hidden, but can be revealing via Messenger’s search bar
  • People: This tab is now split into screens
  • Chat: Games and transportation options have been removed from the composer bar

TechCrunch has more:

The People tab now defaults to a full-screen sub-tab of friends’ Stories and requires a tap over to the Active sub tab to see which friends are online now.

I never used the People tab much, to be honest with you. The Discover tab is an entirely different matter. Considering that this tab was basically home to spammy content that many Messenger users didn’t like, such as the annoying chat bots, games and businesses/brands, hiding the Discover tab is a step in the right direction. I find it funny that just three years ago, chat bots were central to Messenger’s strategy.

Messenger used to be a bloated app, but Facebook’s efforts to slim it down are beginning to bear fruits as the Messenger app has indeed become smaller and faster than before.

You may not see the changes yet because this is a staggered update that’s currently rolling out. According to the company, the new layout should be fully deployed by the end of the week.

Facebook Messenger is a free download from App Store.