Facebook's Messenger app for Android has been updated, and here's the changelog:

  1. Now it’s even easier to reach groups of friends on the go:
  2. Text everyone for free, using your existing data plan
  3. Reach friends wherever they are now – on their phone or the web
  4. Know who’s seen your message, and who hasn’t
  5. See where friends are messaging you from

Now, you're probably wondering what Facebook means by "texting" - they mean the app will send SMS notifications of your messages to people who aren't using the app but are on your friends list, and have their mobile phone number listed on their profile. And they have to opt in to this feature in the first place. Which, honestly, seems utterly useless. Really, it sounds more like they're just calling using Facebook Messenger "texting" in order to confuse / lure the less technically inclined into using it. Shady much?

Screenshot_2012-05-04-14-44-01 Screenshot_2012-05-04-14-44-06

And, of course, you'll still have two Messenger icons, one for the standard Facebook app's Messenger, and one for the standalone Messenger app. Gee Facebook, thanks for clogging my app drawer.

Basically, all you need to know is that Facebook Messenger now has a feature that shows you if someone has read messages you've sent them - that's really all that's changed. And they're trying to trick your mom into thinking it's equivalent to SMS messaging with the new description, and by placing it right next to the stock Android Messaging app. Thanks, Facebook - you stay classy.

David Ruddock
David's phone is whatever is currently sitting on his desk. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • http://kennydude.me Joe Simpson

    I didn't know people actually used the Facebook for Android application?

  • http://twitter.com/Erroneus Erroneus

    The danish version actually says SMS and not text / FB messages >_<

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      Then I'm not sure what they mean, because it's highly ambiguous if it actually has something to do with SMS - which as far as I can tell, it doesn't.

      • http://danielbrierton.ie Daniel Brierton

        If a user hasn't got Facebook Messenger set up, and have their phone number set up, Facebook will SMS them with the message when you send it to them.

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

          Got it.

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

          Wait, that doesn't make sense - wouldn't someone have to opt in to receiving SMS notifications from Facebook?

          • http://danielbrierton.ie Daniel Brierton

            Yeah, it is opt-in. I should've specified that.

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

            Yet another reason I'm pretty sure they only implemented it to confuse people into believing Facebook is now the same thing as "texting" on their smartphone. Could they have made it more difficult? Jeesh.

        • shonangreg

          Is use of SMS from a phone transparent through the whole process? Can i send a facebook message to them, they get it as an SMS, and then reply as an SMS and it come back to me as a facebook message?

          Not that I would trust facebook with any messages anyway. They'll sell anything they can get their hands on; they'll figure out a way to let their spammers, er, advertisers, put up spam-traps that are indistinguishable from messages; they'll make sure to pester me to install apps that can impersonate me and carry on the family tradition; and to top it all off, they'll have the worst threading and organizing features in their messaging apps and will seemingly randomly fail to send me email notifications of messages when they arrive or push messages into an "other" folder that I also randomly check.

          IMO, friends don't let friends do facebook messaging ;-)

  • http://danielbrierton.ie Daniel Brierton

    Um... Facebook Messenger has always had a geolocation feature. Nothing new there. Only new thing is read reports.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      In the Facebook app's Messenger, yes. Not in the standalone app as far as I'm aware.

      • http://danielbrierton.ie Daniel Brierton

        I've always had the ability to tag my location and view others' location on the standalone Facebook Messenger app.

        • http://www.facebook.com/RobJohnson90 Rob Johnson

          So have I

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

          Was it active location tracking with the same interface as the new version?

          • http://danielbrierton.ie Daniel Brierton

            There's a little geolocation icon that lets you toggle it on and off. Tags each message with your location until you turn it off. You can look at the map of the last shared location of your friends in a conversation. That's what way it is for me now, and always has been.

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

            Alright, well, references to location features have been removed. Facebook's changelog for this was awful.

  • ScottColbert

    It's like FB goes out of its way to make a bad app even worse.

  • wvebert

    The "texting" wording could really hirt people. Those not knowing, could use their service believing its SMS and end up with overages on their data plans. Very irresponsible Facebook.

  • besthiroeu

    This app + Friendcaster is a win combination atm. Ofc in friendcaster you should disable notifications for messages.

  • Johan

    android messaging app, facebook messaging app and google+ messaging app, next to eachother.


  • FlexPlexico

    I think it is more about spying on our text messages as FB now gets access to that.

    I really wish Google would allow us to reduce application permissions after an app has been installed. That way, I could fool FB into thinking it could get everything from my phone while it in fact were just looking at dummy data.

    Secondly, Google Play now places app reviews of old versions below reviews of the current version. This means that there is no way to warn others about these constant creeps in permission requirements unless you install the damn thing yourself.

    The whole app permission system in Android needs to be overhauled, because as it is now, FB, Linkedin, and others will slowly harvest every piece of information in my phone. Well, the LinkedIn app will be uninstalled when my current "old" version stops working.

    • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

      I'm a bit rushed to track it down, but somebody on XDA Developers created an app that could do something like this. I'm not sure how it worked exactly or if it's still functional on ICS, but it was able to revoke permissions after an app was installed. Obviously, root was required.

      • Davy Jones

        Maybe Pdroid? You can also check out LBE. I agree with FlexPlexico, though, this shouldn't be left to root apps and ROM patches.

        • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

          I'm right there with ya...I think Google learned after the 1.x days that permissions were sorta broken as they were. They tried to clean them up and make them friendlier in 2.x, but that didn't work and I kinda thought they would have wised up with 3.x/4.x, but that obviously didn't happen. Of course, it's still better than what happens with iOS or WP right now.

  • taher


  • Alliee

    How do I change it back? I don't like it.

  • Gaurav Sharma

    No more FB apps please.. The Facebook official app was horrible.. I am still not over of it.. and you guys just launched another one..

  • sandy

    Hey how can you get the 1.7 for the Facebook messenger back? I do not like the 3.3 ...