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Facebook Messenger is killing the phone number… according to Facebook

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Facebook Messenger Uber

Facebook believes its Messenger app is rendering the trusty old phone number useless.

In a blog post on Thursday the firm says the app’s ability to send messages of all formats, while also making video and audio calls makes the traditional digits surplus to requirements.

Facebook's vice president of messaging products David Marcus claims users of the app no longer need to know a contact’s phone number in order to use the full communication spectrum.

When speaking about the death of flip phones, which brought texting to the fore, Marcus wrote: “Old communication styles are disappearing too. With Messenger, we offer all the things that made texting so popular, but also so much more.

“Yes, you can send text messages, but you can also send stickers, photos, videos, voice clips, GIFs, your location, and money to people. You can make video and voice calls while at the same time not needing to know someone’s phone number. You don’t need to have a Facebook account to use Messenger anymore, and it’s also a cross platform experience – so you can pick up where you left off whether you’re on a desktop computer, a tablet, or your phone.”

With Facebook Messenger starting to become a platform for customer service, Facebook could also make it easier to avoid spending hours on the phone with representatives.

Would you be willing to sacrifice your phone number to go all in on Facebook Messenger?

Or is this more propaganda from Facebook over its desires to overthrow yet another convention in favour of FB's ubiquity as the only necessary means of communication?

Share your thoughts below.

Dale Chapman

January 8, 2016, 9:43 am

The phone number has been on the way out for years and it has nothing to do with Facebook messenger however It is is a long way off yet. There simply isn't good enough data coverage around the country, eliminate the need for 2G networks and then we'll discuss it.

Phil Smith

January 9, 2016, 4:12 am

It says in this article, that you don't need a facebook account, and don't need somebodies number, so how does it know who you're calling/messaging? I've never used facebook messanger (and won't want to as I think everybody living up each others behind is horrible and invasive). This all seems just too weird. In the same way we have water proof radios in the shower (lol), are we due to have social cams stuck on the next shelf in the shower cubicle next?

The creepy bit to me is, we're seriously losing the ability to communicate now. If it's not a 'device', most young people don't want to know, teenagers even walk past parents as if they are invisible, in favour of hearing somebody on a phone tell them who's said what 3 seconds ago on a facebook account that the friends share anyway lol

Quick thing though (to Dale), the 2G networks don't affect the performance or coverage of 3G or 4G, it's only a protocol based vaguely on data flow. 2G does still have a purpose as it allows emergency calls and basic services to still stay connected even when the phone networks have shut down localised 3G and 4G due to a lack of bandwidth, but I don't mean that as a disagreement, I do agree that the whole thing needs updating properly, all to the same level if possible.

I don't agree though that phone numbers are going out of use, or that to do so would be a good idea, simply because how would you contact somebody specific? By name? (look in a phone book at your own or anybody elses surname). Having numbers helps humans separate and comprehend who is who. Look at how we live - social security, house number, phone, bank account. If we lose phone numbers in favour of some Internet messaging company, they become the master of everything!! They know who and what you say/do/type to everybody, and the nasty Big Brother world begins.

Very very scarey times :-o :-)

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