Facebook wants to make Messenger appeal to as many people as possible, so, last month, it announced that it will no longer require new users to have a Facebook account in order to use its increasingly popular messaging service. The feature was initially said to offered in just a handful of markets, US, Canada, Peru and Venezuela.
Now, the feature is made globally available according to Facebook's David Marcus. Just like in the first markets, all that new users need to sign up for Messenger is their phone number.
Facebook has asked for Messenger users' phone numbers before. There has been no particularly good reason for handing out that piece of information, until now that is. A phone number, and the user's contacts list, will more easily allow them to get in touch with their friends, when they do not have the Facebook account that links them.
Those who sign up for Messenger without a Facebook account will get access to the same feature set as those who follow the typical route. A name and photo have to be provided, but there is nothing that is stopping new users from using whatever they want.
Messenger is already hugely popular with mobile users, being one of a couple of apps to have surpassed one billion downloads on Google Play. Facebook, however, wants to make its messaging service appeal to a wider range of users, and this looks to be a simple way to achieve this.