In its ongoing attempt to battle SMS and competitors like WeChat and Line, Facebook is expanding its“contact via phone number” feature to Messenger for iOS. According to techcrunch.com, Facebook doesn’t want you to have to switch to SMS to contact someone who you have the phone number of but aren’t friends with. It’s watched as startup messaging apps like WeChat and KakaoTalk that rely on phone numbers have risen to huge user counts – the new Facebook feature aims to block out this competition.
Messaging generates a ton of user engagement and return visits, plus also helps companies build an accurate social graph of who you talk to most. That’s important data Facebook needs to refine its News Feed relevancy algorithm and ad targeting. Facebook is hoping thats the option to contact someone via phone number within Messenger might deter people from turning to those other apps. They hope to target users who aren’t looking to rack up SMS costs or travelers who could benefit from avoiding SMS roaming charges.
Do you think Facebook has a chance of slowing down these other messaging startups? Let us know in the comments.