Facebook has moved to increase the userbase and availability of its Messenger chat service by removing the need to have an account with the site to use the communications software.
This option, which requires just a phone number for access, is rolling out in the Americas first, and will let people who have left, or declined to join, Facebook, communicate with their peers.
"With Messenger, we've been focused on creating the best messaging experience possible by giving people a fun and easy way to connect and express themselves with friends and contacts. If you're in Canada, the United States, Peru or Venezuela, we are starting to roll out a new way for you to sign up for Messenger - without a Facebook account," said Louis Boval, Facebook software engineer.
"With this update, more people can enjoy all the features that are available on Messenger - including photos, videos, group chats, voice and video calling, stickers and more. All you need is a phone number."
Now everyone can upgrade to Messenger's enhanced experience even without a Facebook account! pic.twitter.com/BeOWXVYI2O— David Marcus (@davidmarcus) June 24, 2015
Non-Facebook account users will actually need to share a name and a photo along with their phone number, and Boval said that the option to sign in without inhouse credentials will be offered on the Messenger welcome screen.
However, Boval did add that people with Facebook accounts get a fuller experience.
"For those who have Facebook accounts, there are many benefits to using your Facebook credentials when signing up for Messenger," he said.
"People can easily message with their Facebook friends and contacts, access their Facebook messages and take advantage of multi-device messaging across mobile devices, the web and tablets."
Messenger has hundreds of millions of monthly users and this action is likely to increase that.
However, Messenger has been the source of much complaint, and Facebook has been accused of forcing its users into a walled garden system of social networking, this may do little to change that.
Facebook are obsessed with trying to make you use their messenger thing. It doesn't even give you the option to not have it— Ellie Goulding (@elliegoulding) June 23, 2015
Its efforts to increase internet coverage in hard-to-reach areas, which is a big focus for Facebook, have also been slammed, leading Mark Zuckerberg to defend his good intentions.
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