Facebook Predicts Traditional Texting is in the Past

Facebook recently reached 800 million monthly active users, leading David Marcus, the company’s vice president of messaging products, to predict “the disappearance of the phone number” as a 2016 trend. Marcus said,

“…we went from just making phone calls and sending basic text-only messages to having computers in our pockets. And just like the flip phone is disappearing, old communication styles are disappearing too. With Messenger, we offer all the things that made texting so popular, but also so much more.”

Marcus points to the fact that besides traditional messages, Facebook Messenger can send photos, videos, video calls, voice calls, GIFs, location information and money.

While traditional phone service is likely to stick around for quite a few years, recent trends show the prevalence of smartphones and of digital communications.

The popular messaging app WhatsApp (also owned by Facebook) had 700 million monthly active users as of March 2015, sending 30 billion messages a day. Globally, SMS messages totaled 20 billion sent a day, according to 2013 data from Ofcom. Apple’s CEO Tim Cook reported in early 2014 that “several billion” iMessages are sent per day.

According to Pew Research Center, 64% of American adults now own a smartphone as of October 2014, up from 35% in the spring of 2011. Research has also shown that an increasing number of Americans depend on smartphones for internet access; 10% of people in this country own a smartphone but do not have any other form of internet access at home than their phone’s data plan, while 15% say their options besides their smartphone are “limited.” A third group, which Pew calls “smartphone-dependent” and comprises 7% of American adults, have no internet access at home and have few options for internet access outside their homes, besides their smartphone.

Read more about Facebook’s new usage figures and David Marcus’ statement here: http://newsroom.fb.com/news/2016/01/heres-to-2016-with-messenger/

Read more about texts vs. messaging app volume here: http://ben-evans.com/benedictevans/2015/1/11/whatsapp-sails-past-sms-but-where-does-messaging-go-next, http://mobilesyrup.com/2014/02/28/apple-now-processing-40-billion-imessages-per-day/, http://www.idigitaltimes.com/whatsapp-vs-facebook-messenger-vs-imessage-services-700-million-users-send-more-407438

Read more about U.S. smartphone use data here: http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/04/01/us-smartphone-use-in-2015/

 

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