Facebook Messenger: The Killer of the Phone Number

By Staff Writer

Jan 12, 2016 03:04 AM EST

Due to the rise in popularity of its Messenger App, Facebook is making claims that the use of the phone number will decline soon. As the devices we use to communicate transform, Facebook feels that will soon extend into the way we do so in general.

David Marcus, Facebook's Vice President of Messaging Products, wrote in a blog post saying that phones have become more than just phone calls and text messages to basically computers in our pockets.

"With Messenger, we offer all the things that made texting so popular, but also so much more," he said. "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."

The Messenger app has become very flexible with its ability to work across multiple platforms such as desktops, tablets, and mobiles. And as getting connected to the Internet becomes more affordable, using Internet-based services to communicate will continue to grow.

As of the end of 2015, there were 800 million people who used Messenger monthly. These numbers have been growing since the start of 2015, from 700 million in June, making it one of the fastest growing apps, according to Wired.

The company plans to expand communication through two other developing apps, Businesses on Messenger and M, their digital virtual assistant. Businesses on Messenger will allow business to communicate with their customers directly while M will grow to be able to book restaurants and make plans for the user.

Wired also reported that the Messenger app is currently the second most popular app on the iOS behind Messenger's parent app, Facebook. And because Facebook is operating system independent that means that more people can use it without the company needing to create an entire OS on its own.

This change in method of communication is different from when Facebook separated Messaging from its main app in 2014. As Time reported, the reviews about the division weren't happy, with one-star reviews dominating the app's history, even though it was listed as one of the top free apps.

Marcus's post brings up some interesting points about the way people communicate in today's constantly connected world. The mobile device has become more than just a phone and more like a gateway to everything outside of the immediate physical world. With Facebook pushing the Messenger app as the go-to way to communicate with each other, users will eventually use it more than just communicating, just like the phone. 

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