Like the parents of a twentysomething living in the basement, Facebook desperately wants its Messenger app to move out of the house. (It knows the young app will thrive if it just asserts itself.) It’s hard to cut ties, to let go, but Facebook is one courageous deliberative parent. It separated Messenger into a standalone app first, cutting off the app’s reliance on the larger Facebook ecosystem. And now Facebook says Messenger doesn’t even require Facebook membership. Anybody can use it. In other words, go forth and prosper, Messenger app.
Messenger is a huge tool with the potential to be even bigger than Facebook itself. It’s its own business, as Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook properly see. Messenger already has nearly 700,000 users (more by the minute), almost as many as the Facebook-owned WhatsApp, which — not coincidentally — grew independent of any reliance on a social network partner like Facebook. Offspring often enough overtake their parents. Facebook Messenger may one day be The Simpsons to Facebook’s Tracey Ullman Show.