Is Facebook Messenger set to become fully standalone app?

Is Facebook Messenger set to become a fully standalone messaging app like Skype. Certainly looks that way with the announcement yesterday that some users will be able to sign up with a phone number instead of having to be a Facebook user.

So far the change only applies to some countries, including US, Canada, Peru and Venezuela. But it could soon be rolled out across the rest of the world very soon. So far the mobile messaging system has attracted 600 million users, a fraction of the 1.4 billion that have signed up to Facebook.

But there are signs that the social media giant wants its messaging app – which once sat inside the main Facebook app, of course – to stand on its own two feet. Earlier this year, Facebook opened up Messenger to developers, and Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg said he wanted to connect users directly with retailers, restaurants and other businesses.

With the latest update, users will be prompted by an option that says “Not on Facebook?” when they open the app. They can then sign up with their name, phone number and a photo.

Says Facebook’s Louis Boval.”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,”

Chris Price