Facebook is planning big changes to its Messenger app in 2018

The head of Facebook’s Messenger app has revealed the company’s plans for the communications app over the coming year, including an aim to make it less “cluttered”.

In a blog post, Messenger boss David Marcus said recent rapid expansion inside the app had left if far from its best in terms of simplicity, something the company would look to fix this year.

“Over the last two years, we built a lot of capabilities to find the features that continue to set us apart,” Marcus wrote.

“A lot of them have found their product market fit; some haven’t. While we raced to build these new features, the app became too cluttered. Expect to see us invest in massively simplifying and streamlining Messenger this year.”

Marcus also revealed some figures on Messenger in 2017, including data on just how visual the app has become – more than 500 billion emoji and 18 billion GIFs were sent on the platform.

He added that the app would look to build on this trend in the coming year.

“Though visual messaging has been around for a while, it really started to reach ubiquity in 2017.

(Dominic Lipinski/PA)

“I predict visual messaging will fully explode in 2018; people will expect a super fast and intuitive camera, video, images, GIFs, and stickers with almost every conversation. Even in the workplace where conversations can be more serious, we see people embracing emojis and video to help drive a point home.

“And Messenger Kids is a visual-first app: parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles can video chat with kids as if they were face to face (depending on who you ask, video chatting can be better than face to face if you use the right funny filter).

“Not only will you see more from Messenger in visual messaging this year, but this is where the industry is heading, and we won’t be looking back.”

Messenger Kids was announced late last year but was criticised for offering another way for younger children to get online at a time when internet safety and Facebook’s approach to it has been under scrutiny.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt was among those to criticise the move.

Marcus also said aims for the coming year included investment in real time communication tools to keep users in touch for special moments and times of crisis and improving the customer service aspect of the platform.

Messenger is one of the largest social media apps available, with more than 1.3 billion active users.

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