If you’re not a fan of Facebook’s bubble-based chatting experience, we have some bad news: your mobile News Feed might soon be even more Messengerized.
Facebook looks to be testing text bubbles in the comment threads of its mobile app. This comes shortly after rolling out a new feature to inundate desktop users with unwanted pop-up tabs every time a friend replies to a comment.
The new mobile comment format was first brought to light by The Next Web‘s Matt Navarra, who received a screenshot of a bubbly thread from a Twitter follower.
I don’t have the rounded-out comments on my iPhone’s Facebook app, but a tipster contacted me with a screenshot showing their feed with a new format, too.
This version of the UI is slightly different — unlike Navarra’s screenshot, friends’ names are located above the text bubbles. So far, it looks like only a small group of iOS users have received either version of the update.
Why is Facebook fussing over its comments so much lately? The tweaks could be part of the social network’s’s push to make users more, well, social. Facebook wants to increase user sharing and engagement network wide, which might also be the inspiration for all the Snapchat features that have come to the ‘Book and its related apps in recent months.
Facebook is betting users will be more likely to follow through with replies to their friends if comments are more like conversations on every platform — which means they’ll spend more time on the site, driving even more revenue.
A Facebook rep told us the features are just part of the networks typical trial process. “We are always working to make Facebook a more visual and engaging place to have conversations,” they said in an emailed statement. “So we’re testing multiple design updates in News Feed, including a more conversational way to comment on posts.”
The Messenger-style comments aren’t guaranteed to make it to your personal News Feed — at least not yet. But if Facebook brass decides it’ll keep you more tuned in to your friends than before, you can probably expect your comment section will be a lot more bubbly in the near future.
UPDATE: March 20, 2017, 9:01 p.m. EDT This post was updated to include the comment from Facebook about the feature’s testing.