The Facebook Messenger app has been fairly popular and I know a lot of people who use it. Of course, it’s not nearly as popular as texting. Not only does everyone not use it, but you also need a Facebook account to use it. Many people don’t want to make Facebook accounts, and privacy concerns are legitimate in that case. So what does Facebook do? Update the app to remove the account prerequisite.
If you want to use Facebook Messenger on your smartphone, you just need to enter your name and phone number. Then you can talk to all of your Facebook friends. It might not be the most predictable move for Facebook, but it opens up Messenger to a lot more people and brings it a little closer to an SMS replacement. You could say we already have an SMS replacement, like BBM, iMessage, or Google Talk. Well, none of those (but the last) is cross platform, and Google Talk isn’t all that widely used. None of those are yet SMS replacements, or even close.
Unfortunately, this feature of not having to use a Facebook account is limited to a few regions. They include India, Australia, Indonesia, Venezuela, and South Africa. Us Americans still need to have Facebook accounts to chat with our friends (assuming we have friends). Hopefully this feature will spread further! Facebook only benefits from it.