clock menu more-arrow no yes

You No Longer Need a Facebook Account to Use Facebook Messenger

Look out, WhatsApp.

Facebook

Look out, WhatsApp.

You no longer need a Facebook account to use Facebook Messenger, the company’s standalone messaging app. Instead, all you need is a phone number. You can connect the app to the contact list on your phone versus your Facebook friend list.

The move puts Messenger on par with a number of other messaging apps out there that simply require a phone number — services like Kik and WeChat. The most popular of those apps is WhatsApp, which Facebook already owns. So now it offers two services that don’t require a Facebook account.

This is getting to be a bit of a habit for the company. Its most recent Creative Labs apps, like Rooms and its new photo sharing app Moments, also don’t require a Facebook account.

Considering how successful Messenger has been despite the account requirement — more than 700 million people are using the app every month — it’s somewhat surprising Facebook removed this requirement. It could hint at a merger of the two products down the road.

One obvious motive: Revenue. Facebook is just now beginning to build Messenger into a platform where other services can build into the app experience. That includes things like retail and payments, with others possibly on the way. Eliminating the account requirement could help Facebook grow its overall audience, making the app a more attractive destination for potential partners on this front.

For now, the Messenger sans Facebook account option is only available in the United States, Canada, Peru and Venezuela.

This article originally appeared on Recode.net.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for The Weeds

Get our essential policy newsletter delivered Fridays.