Today, Facebook has announced that its Facebook Messenger application for Android will allow signups via just a name and phone number rather than a Facebook account. When a non-Facebook user signs up, the app will import their contacts and then allow them to start conversations with them.
According to TechCrunch, Facebook's mobile product manager, Peter Deng, will formally reveal the update at Le Web later today.
This is potentially a great move for smartphone users who don't want to create a Facebook account but would like to interact with friends in a simple way without using other apps, such as WhatsApp, that seem to come in and out of popularity. However, it could also push non-Facebook users to join Facebook once given the taste of some of the advantages.
Facebook says the updated app for Android will be available today and Messenger accounts will become available over the next few weeks. Non-Facebook signups will also be coming to iOS soon and feature phones according to Deng.