(Pocket-lint) - Facebook Messenger is truly a standalone messaging app now.
It is no secret that Facebook wants its messaging feature to become an independent thing. It was never more evident, for instance, than when the social network launched a dedicated Messenger app, and then required all of its mobile users to download and use said app if they ever wanted to chat or call Facebook friends.
Now, Facebook has its eyes set on non-Facebookers. Starting today, you can sign up and use Facebook Messenger without having a Facebook account. Facebook is launching this ability in the US, Canada, Peru, and Venezuela, with the purpose of getting more people to use the app for sending chats or calls.
How do you sign up?
In order to sign up for Facebook Messenger, all you need is a phone number. Once you download and open Messenger on your mobile device, the app's welcome screen will surface an option that says “Not on Facebook?” Tap that option. From there, you can sign up with your name, phone number, and a photo.
Are there any perks to having a Facebook account?
Well, for those who have Facebook accounts, Facebook has claimed there are "many benefits" to using your Facebook credentials when signing up for Messenger. It said users can use the app to easily message with their Facebook friends and contacts and access their Facebook messages. But those perks are pretty obvious.
Want to know more?
If you sign up for Messenger without a Facebook account, you'll still have the option to sync contacts, enabling you to message anyone in your phone's address book.