The Facebook family is finally coming together. The popular social media platform, along with its messaging arm Messenger and its photo-sharing arm Instagram, is testing a feature that will show users notification counters from either of the other two apps, and allow them to switch among the three seamlessly. So whether you’re in Facebook proper, Messenger, or Instagram, you’ll never miss a notification that someone has liked your photo or sent you an IM or replied to your comment. Really, you’ll just never leave the Facebook universe.
First spotted by social media analyst Mari Smith, the feature will ostensibly be useful in driving engagement, especially among users who simply must get rid of all those notifications as soon as they pop up (guilty as charged). So even if you don’t necessarily care about your Facebook notifications, but are browsing Instagram, you’ll still be forced to see that someone is trying to get your attention, and perhaps switch platforms, just to dismiss that red flag.
Facebook confirmed the test in a statement to TechCrunch, noting, “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. We’re exploring ways to help people switch more easily between their Facebook, Messenger, and Instagram accounts.”
If you’re part of the test, you’ll be able to switch apps when you tap the profile icon in the top corner of any of the three Facebook-owned apps. That little icon will show you the total number of pending notifications you have, with the respective number of unread alerts next to each account. If you want to go to one of those accounts, just tap it, and you’ll be switched into another app. For the time being, the conspicuously absent app from the trio is WhatsApp, which Facebook purchased back in 2014.
So if you’re always looking for notifications, Facebook has just made it infinitely easier for you to keep your eyes in one place.