Since 2016, social media users have been able to use Facebook/Meta’s Messenger as an SMS app on Android. That integration is now set to go away next month.
Users that use Facebook Messenger, instead of Google or Samsung Messages, for SMS and MMS are being notified about the depreciation and will no longer be able to use Messenger to send and receive SMS messages sent by the cellular network after updating the app after September 28, 2023.
Meta directs users to their phone’s default messaging app, like Google’s app:
You will still be able to send and receive SMS messages through your cellular network and access your SMS message history through your phone’s new default messaging app.
To switch, open the system Settings app > Apps > Default apps > SMS app and pick another client. Facebook Messenger first offered SMS support in 2012, but that was dropped by 2013.
In 2016, Facebook tried again with SMS kept separate from web-based communications. These threads were themed purple (with others defaulting to blue), with Facebook once calling its experience “SMS on steroids.”
Third-party SMS clients are not particularly popular today and do not have access to RCS. Google has made messaging a first-party Android experience, while carriers and OEMs have predominantly adopted the Messages app as the default.
Messenger is a popular service so there’s presumably a not-insignificant amount of people that used the SMS/MMS integration to just have one messaging app.
However, it’s likely not a core aim for the company anymore, especially with WhatsApp being the other big service it maintains. The deprecation is ultimately a win for Google and its continued RCS efforts.