Are Facebook about to give users… numbers?

Share

Facebook seem to be trialling a new way to connect with friends. Why faff about with names or URLs, when you could simply use… a number.

prisoner.png

TheNextWeb spotted the tests, which appear to have been rolled out to a small number of users.

Apparently the way it works is in the Find Friends section – when rather than enter a URL, you simply have to tap in a number – and your number is displayed there for you to give to other people too.

fbnumber.png

It seems like a neat way to solve the problem of how to find someone on Facebook without any mutual friends – when it becomes tricky to do so. It could also be a reaction to the likes of Snapchat and WhatsApp (which Facebook own) bypassing the need for usernames entirely by using phone numbers to connect people.

What is particularly intriguing is the implications if everyone has a “Facebook number”. Will certain brand pages compete to own a particularly memorable number?

Facebook numbers appear to be eight digits – phone numbers are eleven. Could Facebook buy an area code an automatically give all users a free phone number (the FB are code + their FB number) that works across devices, and kill all of the traditional phone networks in one go?

Watch this space.

James O’Malley