Facebook wants even the people who hate Facebook to use Messenger, so it is opening the option to sign up for its chat app without an account on its social network. Users can sign up with just a first name, last name, and phone number, starting today in the US, Canada, Peru, and Venezuela before the feature comes elsewhere.
Facebook tested account-less signups for Messenger on Android in India and a three other countries in 2012 but ceased the test a few months later. But head of Messenger David Marcus tells me “That time two years ago we were in the middle of the road. Now it’s a way to get to the last mile and the last few people who want to use Messenger who potentially didn’t want to use Facebook or couldn’t use Facebook.”
A new ‘Not On Facebook?’ button in the Messenger sign-up flow will let people upload their phone contacts. Facebook will then match them against Messenger users who’ve registered with those phone numbers to build a no-account user’s social graph. People will also be able to use a Facebook search function to find people they want to chat with but who might not have given Facebook their number.