Around mid-August 2019, Facebook group posts about a purported end to Messenger group chat on August 22 began circulating:
In the above post, the first paragraph stated:
💥 Attention Facebook Group owners:💥 the ability for you and/or your Group members to create group chats is being removed on August 22, 2019. All existing Chats in Facebook Groups will be archived and read only.
Many groups noticed the following banner, pinned to the top of their feed on August 16 2019:
Underneath a megaphone-like emoji, text read:
Chats in Facebook Groups Are Going Away
On August 22, your chats will become read-only. You can still view them in Messenger anytime.
Reddit users also discussed the notification about Facebook Groups and the August 22 change in their Messenger capabilities:
As is often the case with Facebook’s addition and removal of features, the vague announcement caused some alarm regarding the ability to use Messenger for group chats. Without additional information, simply viewing the image above might imply to some readers that all group messaging was being retired, and that messages could only occur between two individuals.
Although Facebook did not link to it or make it in any way intuitively available, the social network shared an August 16 2019 post to Facebook Community describing the update in better detail. The update, titled “Chats in Facebook Groups will no longer be available,” stated in part:
We launched Chats in Facebook Groups a year ago so group members could have real-time communication with other group members. Starting August 16 , the option to start a Messenger chat in a group will no longer be available.
Existing chats in groups will become read-only on August 22 . All participants of a group chat will still be able to view the conversation history by searching for the chat in Messenger but they will not be able to add new people or continue to send messages within that particular chat. However, you will still be able to start a group chat with anyone who you are friends with or are connected to in Messenger.
Although the post was brief and didn’t include much more information than the banner, it specified that the function being retired was geared to Facebook Groups — not messages between more than two people.
Another post shared by the verified page Community Leadership Circles from Facebook went into further detail:
It read in part:
– This change will not impact group chats in Messenger with your friends— only chats in your Facebook Group. You will still be able to start a group chat with anyone who you are friends with or are connected to in Messenger.
– In order to find a previous Chat in Facebook Group, you can search for the chat in Messenger by either typing (a) the group chat name or (b) the name of a member of the group chat.
– On August 22, it will appear in Chats in Facebook Group as though all members are “leaving” the chat. This isn’t because they are opting to leave, but rather, because it is part of “archiving” the chat.
As to why Facebook is making the “August 22” change, there is some speculation that it is intended to limit “spammers” using groups to “blast” messages to other members. However, no official reason was provided by Facebook explaining the announcement.
On August 22 2019, all Facebook Groups chat messages will become read-only. Although the option to start a chat group in Messenger as a group will be unavailable, members can still manually add one another to messages to recreate existing group chats. Members need not be friends on Facebook to do so; simply being connected on Messenger is sufficient to enable chatting among group members. (That may necessitate checking “filtered messages” for chats between non-friends on Facebook.)
The August 22 change to Messenger with respect to Facebook Groups will archive all existing group-based messages. However, members of groups can still message one another as a group; they just need to add group members to a new message, since all messages will be archived by default.