Countdown begins: Facebook to eliminate key feature next month


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Android boasts a unique feature that allows you to pick a default texting app for sending SMS and MMS messages through your carrier.

In its early days, many apps embraced this feature, hoping to attract users to their messaging platforms.

An example is Facebook Messenger, which combined SMS messages with its web-based instant messages, offering an all-in-one texting solution. However, this feature is set to be discontinued in the near future.

Meta, the company behind Facebook, has announced that it will no longer support SMS in Messenger, starting from September 28, 2023.

If you’re currently using Messenger for your SMS needs, you’ll need to either download a new SMS app or use the default SMS app on your phone once Messenger updates on or after September 28.

If you don’t take any action, your phone will automatically revert to using its pre-installed SMS app once the update is rolled out.

In 2016, Meta integrated SMS functionality into Messenger, providing Android users the convenience of merging online chats with traditional SMS messages.

This move followed a brief trial of SMS support in 2012, which was later removed in 2013. The 2016 revival introduced purple-coloured SMS threads, setting them apart from the traditional blue online chats.

The preference for third-party SMS apps has been declining in recent times, with users gravitating towards the extended features offered by web-based instant messaging platforms like Messenger and WhatsApp.

Concurrently, Google has been promoting RCS as a replacement for SMS and MMS. The decision to phase out SMS from Messenger could reflect this broader trend.

Nonetheless, Messenger remains dynamic. Earlier this year, the platform reinforced its end-to-end encrypted (E2EE) chats, aiming to standardise private conversations by the end of 2023.

This aligns with other popular messaging platforms such as Signal, WhatsApp, and Google Messages, all of which prioritise default E2EE.

The upcoming weeks mark a period of change for users of Messenger’s SMS service.

It might be a good idea to proactively transition to an alternative SMS platform before the September deadline. For guidance, you can refer to our list of the best communication apps for Android.

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