Thanks to its dreadful track record with user data, its shady stance on political ads, and the role it played in the rise of fake news, many people have turned their backs on Facebook. But the annoying thing about the social network is that it offers a few handy tools and features, one of the most useful of which is Facebook Messenger. Fortunately, you can use Messenger without Facebook − but only if you have had a Facebook account in the past.
It wasn’t always this way. Previously, it was possible to sign up for Facebook Messenger using your phone number and nothing else. But as of December 26 2019, you can’t sign up for Messenger if you’ve never had a Facebook account.
In other words, you need to either have an active Facebook account, or have had a Facebook account at some point in the past, in order to be able to use Messenger. Read on for all the details.
How to use Facebook Messenger if you’ve deleted your Facebook account
If you once had a Facebook account but have now either deactivated to deleted it, you can still use Messenger without having to resurrect your account. So those of you who’ve been holding off deleting your Facebook account for fear of losing access to Messenger, fear not! Go ahead and delete it.
Related: How to delete a Facebook account
To continue using Messenger, follow these steps:
- Download the Facebook Messenger mobile app (iOS, Android).
- Sign in to Messenger with the same login details you used for your Facebook account. For better or for worse, all of the people you were Facebook friends with when you deleted your account will be able to message you.
- To add new contacts on Messenger, simply enter their phone numbers.
You can no longer sign up for Facebook Messenger with a phone number alone
As mentioned above, Facebook used to allow you to sign up for Messenger with your number alone. You used to be able to by hitting ‘Create New Account’ in Messenger, entering your phone number and creating a password
However, the social network removed that option on December 26, 2019.
“If you’re new to Messenger, you’ll notice that you need a Facebook account to chat with friends and close connections,” a Facebook spokesperson said at the time. “We found that the vast majority of people who use Messenger already log in through Facebook and we want to simplify the process. If you already use Messenger without a Facebook account, no need to do anything.”