Facebook opens up messaging app to people outside of the social network

Facebook’s standalone messaging app isn’t just for people on the social network anymore.

The social media company on Wednesday said that those interested in using Messenger can now sign up without a Facebook account. All they need to do is tap on a “Not on Facebook” button on the app’s welcome screen and enter a phone number.

The new option is being rolled out first in Canada, the United States, Peru and Venezuela.

Facebook has been trying to grow the number of people who use Messenger, tacking on new features this year including the ability to send money, track online shopping orders, games and more. The company also released a web version of Messenger.

But Facebook Messenger is also competing with other free text messaging apps such as Kik, Line and WhatsApp — which Facebook purchased in 2014 — that don’t require a social media account to use.

David Marcus, the company’s VP of Messaging, has said before during Facebook’s developer conference that they are keeping an eye on their competitors.

“Can we really enhance the way people communicate with each other every day and do it to the point where we really want most of the conversations with the people you care the most about to happen on Messenger and not, you know, on other platforms?,” he said in March.

The app has been growing in popularity. It recently reached 1 billion downloads on Google Play and has about 700 million monthly active users.

Photo Credit: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg introduces a new messenger platform at the F8 summit in San Francisco, California, on March 25, 2015. (JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images)


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