Can you use Messenger without Facebook? Yes, in a way: even if you have sworn off Facebook or want to quit social media altogether, it doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of Facebook’s Messenger service.
The two are obviously linked. But if you follow these simple steps, you can use Facebook Messenger without having an active Facebook account.
Why Use Facebook Messenger?
Can you have Messenger without Facebook? Yes, sort of. But should you?
Facebook Messenger is one of the biggest messaging platforms worldwide. Its chief competitor is WhatsApp—another service owned and operated by Facebook. One main motive for using Messenger is that it’s highly likely your friends are using it as well.
But Messenger is about more than just chatting with mates. It’s a powerful multi-purpose app.
Want to order an Uber? Use Messenger. Need to make a voice or video call? Use Messenger. Want to play a game against your friends? Use Messenger. That’s without touching on all the different ways it lets you send GIFs, stickers, photos, and images to your friends. None of these things are solely found on Messenger, but their combined benefits mean you’ll likely want to use the app.
And as with WhatsApp, Messenger works across operating systems. You can stay in touch with friends on Android, even if you use an iPhone.
Your messages can be sent using end-to-encryption too, although it’s not by default, so you need to know how to activate encryption. This means that whatever you send can’t be intercepted by third parties. No one can see your message while it’s in transit between devices. It’s the bare minimum you should expect from an instant messaging service these days.
Why Might You Avoid Using Facebook?
Facebook remains a social media giant, but its popularity is waning. Why? Some are turning to other means of contact. Younger generations are turning to Snapchat and TikTok to keep in touch. Some would prefer just to talk to people face-to-face or use SMS.
Some refuse to use Facebook on principle. Others don’t like social platform staples like political debates, pyramid schemes, and pointless status updates.
Others remain troubled by the privacy and security scandals that plague Facebook. You need to keep an eye on your privacy controls if you use the service, or indeed any messenger app that knows too much about you.
But even if you don’t have Facebook, the company is still tracking you: shadow profiles detail the activities of those not using the app. Signing up to Messenger isn’t going to make much of a difference, compared to the personal information users with Facebook accounts give up.
How to Download Messenger Without an Active Facebook Account
Things used to be simpler. The process of using Facebook Messenger without having Facebook itself was easy: you could simply sign up using your phone number. But Facebook quietly phased this out in 2019, so now, you have to have a Facebook account. But don’t panic: you can work around this.
Essentially, the consequences are the same as they used to be, but you now have to jump through an extra hoop.
First, you need to know how to install Messenger, which is simple. Just head to the App Store or Google Play, depending on your smartphone or tablet. Make sure it’s the official app, made by Facebook Inc., or you risk installing malware.
Next, you need to know how to sign up for Messenger.
When you open the app for the first time, it will encourage you to log into a Facebook account using either your email address or phone number. Instead, click on Create New Account. This will redirect you into creating a Facebook account.
You need to put in your first name and surname: you could go under a pseudonym if you don’t want Facebook to know your real name, but this is also the name you’ll appear as in Messenger. After that, tap Next. In the next screen, you need to add a password. Use something unique and difficult to guess; there are plenty of ways you can create a memorable password. Now, tap Sign Up. You’ll need to verify your new account via email or SMS.
Okay, so now you have a Facebook account. That’s not ideal, but you can do something about that at least. So what next?
How to Set Up Messenger Without an Active Facebook Account
After you activate your account, there are still a few settings to finalize so that you can take full advantage of the app.
You could add a photo of yourself so that other users can recognize you. You can’t do that within Messenger, however. It defaults to your Facebook profile picture, so you need to set that up within your account.
How can you add friends to Messenger? You can do this via your Facebook account if you want to, but you’ll probably need to explain to them that this is temporary, because you’re only doing it to interact with them on Messenger. If you want to connect solely on Messenger via your smartphone, you can click on your profile picture in the top-left of your interface. Then go to Phone contacts > Upload contacts. This will sync the app with your phone book.
Can You Have Messenger Without Using Facebook?
You still have the main problem you wanted to avoid: you have a Facebook profile, simply to use Messenger. So what can you do?
Messenger will still work if you deactivate your Facebook profile. This is the only way you can use Messenger without using Facebook itself now.
However, you cannot delete Facebook without also deleting Messenger.
What Happens to Messenger If You Delete or Deactivate Facebook?
Don’t make this decision lightly. Before you begin the process, you need to know what it means when you deactivate your Facebook account.
In a nutshell, deactivating Facebook still allows you time to think about whether you want to permanently delete your account (as your data is still stored, ready for reactivation). It also means Messenger will continue to work. When you deactivate Facebook, you should also be asked if you want to continue using Messenger.
However, if you delete Facebook, your previous messages will read “Facebook User” and no one will be able to respond. You won’t be able to use Messenger.
Deactivation means messages will still exist alongside your contacts. Deletion means all your messages will be irretrievably lost from your device (though not on the recipients’ devices), and you’ll need to create a new Facebook account using the above method.
So how do you deactivate or delete Facebook? First, you have to log in, then click on the downward arrow to the top-right of your screen. Go to Settings & privacy > Settings > Your Facebook information, the latter of which you can find in the column to the left. Finally, select Deactivation and deletion.
You’ll see your two options with warnings about what happens when you follow either method. Select Deactivate account so you can still use Messenger on your smartphone.
Can I Use Messenger Without Facebook on my PC?
Sadly, you can only use Messenger via your browser if you’ve got an active Facebook account.
The second you sign into Facebook via your browser, your deactivated account will reactivate.
If you’re concerned about too many people finding you, you can toggle your privacy settings. And if you’re troubled by the amount of data Facebook can find out about you, you really need to limit what goes onto your Facebook page, including who can actually post to it and tag you in status updates or photos.
And That’s How You Can Download Messenger Without Using Facebook
The apps are intrinsically tied to each other, so you can’t actually use Messenger without a Facebook account anymore.
Nonetheless, because this little loophole allows you to carry on using Messenger even after deactivating your main Facebook profile, it’s not the end of the world.
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