Facebook Messenger users who have set the app as their default option for texting on their mobile phones should prepare for the fall.
Meta, the parent company of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, announced that Messenger’s sync feature with SMS text messages will be discontinued after all updates after September 28, 2023.
But this isn’t the first time the company has terminated support for SMS cell phone text messages for Messenger. The feature was first released in 2012, only removed in 2013, and relaunched again in 2016 as, in Facebook’s words at the time, “SMS on steroids.”
Short for ‘Short Message Service’, SMS is the decades-old industry standard established for text-based communications between pagers, cell phones and other wireless devices.
Established in 1986, SMS has become the industry foundation that enables the mobile messaging platforms of many technology companies to be compatible.
Messenger users who have the app set as their default for texting should prepare for this fall.
Meta, the parent company of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, announced via a notice posted on its Help Center that Messenger’s syncing feature with SMS text messages will be discontinued after all updates after September 28, 2023. .
Industry watchers and dedicated Messenger users speculate that the app’s SMS support may make a comeback, or perhaps be incorporated into Meta’s WhatsApp, which is more widely used on mobile phones.
In the meantime, however, Messenger users will have to adjust their habits.
‘You will still be able to send and receive SMS messages through your cellular network,’ according to a notice posted in the Messenger Help Center‘and access your SMS message history through your phone’s new default messaging app.’
“If you don’t choose your own new default messaging app,” the notice continued, “your SMS messaging will automatically go to your phone’s default messaging app, like the Android Messages app.”
For years, SMS text messaging has been the primary bridge, particularly in the United States, between cell phone users with different carriers, Apple’s “walled garden” operating systems, or different eras of mobile device technology.
Android users don’t have access to Apple’s rich iMessage texting experience on the iPhone. Old-school mobile users can’t see that iMessage or Android’s Rich Communications Services (RCS) are a communication protocol.
But everyone can send and receive an SMS text message.
Many major banks and other institutions only offer two-factor authentication for secure remote access by their customers via SMS text messages, and the practice doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon.
Writers at TechRadar and in Reddit’s r/Android community have speculated that Meta might be looking to relaunch this SMS feature ‘along with some updates’ or redeploy Messenger staff and resources to its other main messaging app, WhatsApp, instead.
In 2016, it seemed that Facebook hoped that Messenger could rival the widespread use of Apple’s iMessage and Google Android Messages on mobile phones, laptops, tablets, and PCs.
The Facebook Messenger SMS integration displayed SMS text messages in purple and Facebook Messenger conversations in blue, similar to Apple’s custom of displaying iMessages in blue and any other type of text in green.
writers in TechRadar and in Reddit r/Android Community have speculated that Meta may be looking to relaunch this SMS feature “along with some updates” or redeploy Messenger staff and resources to its other main messaging app, WhatsApp, instead.
However, company-wide cutbacks may also explain the end of Messenger’s support for SMS text messages.
Facebook founder, now Meta chairman and chief executive officer, Mark Zuckerberg, called 2023 a “year of efficiency” as the company seeks to cut costs without sentimentality, including thousands of layoffs since last November.
The first staff was cut by 13 percent, when 11,000 workers were laid off from Meta that month.
Then last March, the CEO announced a cost-cutting push, which aims to eventually cut 10,000 jobs at the company, with more layoffs last July.
like zuckerberg framed the moves in February“We are working to flatten our organizational structure and remove some layers of middle management to make decisions faster, as well as implement artificial intelligence tools to help our engineers be more productive.”
“We’re going to be more proactive in weeding out projects that don’t work or are no longer as crucial,” he wrote, “but my main goal is to increase the efficiency of how we execute on our top priorities.”