Facebook Messenger is all grown up, and the company has decided to let it become its own chat app, without necessarily having a Facebook account. All you need now is a phone number to register on the app, unlike previously when a Facebook account was necessary.
In the new update, if you’re a new user, you’ll see an option that says “Not on Facebook” on the welcome screen. If you click on that option, you can sign up using your phone number, then enter your name and upload a profile photo.
This move looks like a strategic one to net those people who don’t have Facebook accounts or don’t need them but need Messenger in order to keep in touch with those who are hooked to it. Facebook is after all keen on making Messenger a one-stop platform for all the communication needs of a user and when they’re not chatting up their contacts, playing games or even sending each other money. Facebook is after all even allowing users to chat using Messenger directly from their browsers via messenger.com without the bells and whistles of the entire Facebook website.
Facebook maintains that those people who sign up using this new method will still enjoy all the features available on Messenger. However, the company still insists that there are many benefits of actually having a Facebook account when signing up for Messenger like easily chatting with your Facebook friends, accessing those messages from Facebook and the advantage of chatting across a plethora of devices.
Facebook’s decision to make Messenger a separate app is strange because they shelled out a massive $19 billion for WhatsApp. WhatsApp’s purchase was valid because it has an impressive 800 million monthly active users while Messenger is not too far behind having just hit the 700 million monthly active users mark the other day. Not only can users play games on Messenger, they can share stickers and actually do video calls while the biggest advantage of WhatsApp, is that it’s synonymous with chatting. Facebook merging the two chat apps is unlikely but two is better than one, they say.
The new update is only available in the US, Canada, Peru and Venezuela but Facebook will roll-out to other markets soon.