WhatsApp and similar mobile-first (or mobile-only) messaging apps have
pioneered the concept of using your phone number to log in years ago. But so
far Facebook’s Messenger has required people to have a Facebook account in
order to use it. Not anymore.
Starting today, you can sign up for Facebook Messenger even if you don’t
have a Facebook account. After you install the Messenger app, when you run
it for the first time, you’ll see the screen above. You can choose “Not on
Facebook?” to be able to sign up using your phone number.
You also need to state a name and add a photo. But that’s it. From that point
on, you can use Messenger even if you don’t also use Facebook’s social
network. Obviously, you can still log into Messenger with your Facebook
credentials if you so wish. This just makes it possible for people who for
whatever reason don’t use Facebook to communicate using its Messenger
The bad news? The new functionality is currently only available in the US,
Canada, Peru, and Venezuela. We assume the rollout will hit other countries
in the future, but nothing about this has been announced yet, so it’s unclear
when to expect it to happen.