Facebook would really appreciate it if you would help them take over the world. You know, if you're not too busy or anything. To that end, they've decided to make Facebook Messenger (recently graduated from a simple social network feature to a quasi-platform) truly stand on its own. So now you can use Facebook Messenger even if you're not one of the billion or so people with a Facebook account - or even if you are, and you don't want to associate your account with your messages.
Facebook made the announcement in its official Newsroom blog, encouraging new users to simply use their phone numbers to create a Messenger profile. Interestingly, this is more or less what makes WhatsApp (which Facebook purchased for a staggering $22 billion back in February) appealing to so many people - both platforms are now essentially an end-run around text messages that at least some carriers still charge for. Note: an older version of Facebook Messenger could handle standard SMS messages.
To sign up for Facebook Messenger without a Facebook account, just open the app and tap "not on Facebook." You'll then have access to conversations with any of your contacts who are also on Facebook Messenger and have shared their mobile numbers with Facebook, to say nothing of all those new Messenger third-party apps. Or you can install Facebook Lite and get Messenger and Facebook in the same app, like the good Lord intended.
- Facebook newsroom