Blog Archives

You No Longer Need a Facebook Account for Using Facebook Messenger

Facebook Messenger just moved one step closer to messaging domination. The social network no longer requires people to have active Facebook accounts to use its messaging app, Facebook announced Wednesday.

Now, when people in the United States, Canada and Venezuela who don’t have Facebook accounts download Messenger, they will see a new “not on Facebook?” option on the sign-up screen, which allows them to create an account for the app using their name and phone number.

All of the same Messenger features, including payments and stickers as well as voice and video calls, will be available to people using Messenger without Facebook. The main difference for non-Facebook users, of course, will be features that rely on your network of Facebook friends. Without a connection to a Facebook account, for example, the app will rely solely on your phone’s contacts to find friends on the service. Non-Facebook users also won’t be able to access messages on the web, since those still live on for now.

messenger sign up android

Image: Facebook

The company hasn’t given a timeline for when Facebook Messenger will open its new sign-ups to more countries, but it’s likely the company is using those markets as a test ground for the new standalone version of Messenger.

Facebook Messenger has come a long way in less than a year when the social network first began pushing its mobile users to the app. Despite initial resistance, Facebook has managed to rack up more than a billion downloads while adding payments, video calling, third-party apps and a suite of other features to the app that is increasingly becoming its own standalone platform.

Now Facebook Messenger Gives Context About People Contacting You

Getting messages from someone you don’t know can be a pretty intimidating experience. How did they find you? Why did they reach out?

To make new connections less jarring, Facebook Messenger is introducing a new feature on Thursday that gives you bits of information about someone messaging you for the first time, whether the person is one of your Facebook friends or not. The Messenger team is rolling it out to iOS and Android users in the U.S., UK, France and India over the next few weeks.

Think of it almost like an icebreaker, or “a way to give you more context about new conversations in Messenger,” a Facebook spokesperson told Mashable.

When someone messages you for the first time, Messenger plucks bits of information from their Facebook profile, like what their job is, which town or city they live in, and who your mutual friends are (if you have any), then displays that info above their first message, alongside their profile name and photo, like so:

FB 2

Image: Facebook

The new feature is similar to one offered in Hello, the app Facebook quietly rolled out in April, which gives Android smartphone owners tidbits of information about the person on the other end of the line.

Screen Shot 2015 05 21 at 7.58.45 AM

Messenger’s new context feature is somewhat similar to the one in Hello, the Android app Facebook released in April, only savvier.

But the feature people will see in Messenger is a tad more savvy. It shows information Facebook thinks will prove most useful, while respecting both users’ privacy settings. That’s key, especially if you and the other person aren’t actually friends on Facebook — in which case, only publicly available information on your profiles is used.

It’s a small feature in the big scheme of things for Messenger but one that makes sense. Facebook already sits on data from 1.44 billion active monthly users, so why not use some of their publicly available information to give a little context about new folks who message you? And of course, if the feature helps boost Messenger’s user engagement — the more friends you message, the more time you spend on the service — it’s a win-win.