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You can now use Facebook Messenger without a Facebook account

Facebook has announced a major change in policy by opening up its Messenger chat app to people without an account on the social network.

Today’s update means all you need is a phone number to use the instant messaging, photo sharing, group chat, video and voice calling features.

The shift allows users to marry their contact list on their phone to the application, allowing them to discover friends already on the app via their contact information, rather than their Facebook account.

The rollout, which is only in the US, Canada, Peru and Venezuela initially, comes as Facebook looks to establish Messenger as a standalone platform in its own right.

Allowing non-Facebook users to jump on board could be crucial to that drive as it brings the company in line with the likes of WhatsApp (which Facebook owns), Snapchat, Kik and even solutions like Apple’s iMessage.

Despite ending the need for a news feed, profile and all that jazz, Facebook is still selling the benefits of having a Facebook account for using Messenger.

In a blog post on Wednesday, the company wrote: “For those who have Facebook accounts, there are many benefits to using your Facebook credentials when signing up for Messenger.

“People can easily message with their Facebook friends and contacts, access their Facebook messages and take advantage of multi-device messaging across mobile devices, the web and tablets.”

Related: Zuck explains why he forced Messenger on everyone

Is this the excuse you’ve been looking for to cut ties with your Facebook account for good? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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