Could a New Facebook App Terminate Traditional Text Messaging?

Facebook at Mozcon - Alex © by Thos003

On August 10th, Facebook introduced it’s new Messenger app for 3G and 4G Android Phone models plus the Apple iPhone. Smartphone users have been able to use Facebook’s messenger function via the popular Facebook app for Android and iPhone for sometime, but now they’ll be able to access the messenger exclusively through an easy flick of the finger. The ease in which it has now become to send a Facebook message is matched to that of the traditional text message. In addition, the Facebook Messenger app lets users send photos with their messages along with location coordinates and other information lacking in traditional SMS service.

This has industry experts wondering if the age of the text message is coming to a close. Facebook certainly hopes so and has the full intention of replacing SMS service, which currently consists of carriers operating their own in-house collection of data. To Facebook, typical text messages inhibit users from being able to fully express themselves to each other through instant text-based communication. They represent an archaic mode of transferring information, a mode with an existence that’s getting harder to justify in light of superior technology.

At the same time, however, the only way Facebook will succeed in taking over the role of text messaging is through the industry that commands text messaging. The only way the social network company can conceivably overcome such an obstacle is to either convince carriers they can make as much profit from losing SMS as they do keeping it around, or starting their own phone service.

Considering that Facebook has recently announced plans to release “products” the idea that they could try and outmaneuver the phone industry completely isn’t outside the realm of possibility. Especially when you consider the mountain of capital and sky of possibility available to Facebook right now.

In the meantime, Facebook is likely very focused on just letting people start to prefer the Facebook Messenger app over texting on their own. It’s been said that one of the biggest things going for it is the ability for text messaging addicts to cut the costs of their monthly phone bill down by using the app. However, since data usage is no longer optioned with a flat-rate fee, the savings might be less than what you would be led to believe.

Text messaging is a means to an end. That end – dispensing information to associates – can be replaced with a multitude of various methods of communication. Judging by how influential Facebook is in the lives of people the world over, there’s probably little point in SMS-profiteers fearing competition from anyone else.


  1. The main reason that SMS will never be killed off by an internet based application is CONNECTIVITY.. or lack of. There are many places in my area where I can’t get a fast enough internet connection on my phone to make it worthwhile, which is why I still use SMS a lot.

  2. Belinda Stroming says

    Well, just consider that not all people have access to mobile phones that connect to the internet. Just think about those people that do not use Facebook as well. How about them? Facebook will not replace SMS just because they want to, especially now that they are having issues with the way they handle their users’ private information.

  3. HeOfTheMountains says

    I still try to use e-mail for detailed communications and SMS for quick messages clarifying where to meet someone in the next few minutes. I dislike having full-fledged conversations via SMS, because the device is so annoying to use for an extended period of time. It’s impossible to be eloquent with SMS. Cheap, quickly worded replies are expected with SMS. E-mail allows you to take your time in writing a thoughtful reply.

    The other thing I dislike about SMS and even Facebook’s 849 friends feature is how every small text or status update intrudes into your day. SMS comes in and you feel compelled to check it, no matter what you’re doing at the moment. On Facebook, you find yourself monitoring the status updates of dozens, if not hundreds, of people. Most of these updates are completely forgettable attention-seeking nonsense. Why devote your brainy thinking cycles to this?

    On the other hand, you can check e-mail once or twice a day, or less. The noise volume is much less and the conversation is more thought out and real.

    My opinion, of course. A friend of mine recently deleted his Facebook account for these reasons. I spend less and less time on Facebook for these reasons. It is not helpful to be constantly distracted by so much noise that could be summarized in a 5 or 10 minute conversation the next time you see each other in person.