A big change was made to Facebook Messenger last week that many people are unaware of. Now, users do not have to have a Facebook account to use the Messenger app. People that want a non-SMS-based way to communicate with their friends can use the app without having to join Facebook first.
During its developers’ conference in March, the company announced that businesses would now be able to use the Messenger app to send receipts and shipping updates to customers. The companies can also use the app to handle customer service issues. Making messaging between consumers and businesses effective could be lucrative for Facebook. Once the app has been established as a communications link between businesses and customers, Facebook could monetize the app by charging brands to use it.
The app had roughly 700 million users before the latest updates. Nearly 100 million new users signed up in the last three months. Another spike in user sign-ups could result from the most recent changes, bringing the user numbers even closer to the 1 billion user mark. Previously, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that the company believes in waiting until its products hit 1 billion users before focusing on turning them into meaningful businesses.
These are not the only changes that have been made to Facebook Messenger recently. Peer-to-peer payments were introduced on Messenger in May and Facebook doesn’t charge anything for the transactions, making it an attractive way to send and receive money. The company has also begun to let third-party software developers create apps that run inside Messenger. Currently, the apps do not cost anything to download or use. They also do not have any in-app purchase options, though that may change in the future. Facebook may eventually allow users to purchase things through Messenger, like stickers or gifts for friends.
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