Facebook Messenger no longer needs a Facebook account

Facebook Messenger sign-ups on an iPhone

Facebook wants as many people using Messenger as possible... and after today, that includes people who aren't using Facebook at all. Anyone in the US, Canada, Peru and Venezuela can now sign up for Messenger without using a Facebook account. You only need to provide your phone number to get started -- after that, the mobile app can create an ad hoc friends list based on your contacts. The social network would still prefer that you enlist using one of its accounts, of course, but this lets you stay in touch with friends without registering for a service that you can't (or just don't want to) use.