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December 5, 2012

Facebook’s messenger app opens up to non-members

The social network is competing against SMS in hopes that consumers will trade texting for its messenger.

By Tineka Smith

Facebook has now made its messaging service to mobile users who are not on the social network.

Users can simply create a messenger account with just a name and phone number. The messaging service will then allow users to message their mobile contacts.

The app also allows users to start group conversations and share photos, similar to Whatsapp’s service, which the social network had been rumoured to be in talks of acquiring.

Android is the first operating system to receive an update to Facebook Messenger. It has not been confirmed, however when it will be available on iOS and other operating systems.

Facebook messenger

Facebook says that messenger accounts will roll out over the next few weeks.

The company’s new offering further promotes its aim to get ahead in mobile; an area Facebook said was a weak spot for the company.

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Zuckerberg announced in September that Facebook would be shifting its focus to mobile development.

"It is really clear from the stats and my own personal intuition that a lot of energy in the ecosystem is going to mobile, not desktop," said Zuckerberg.

The Facebook CEO admitted to tech blogger Michael Arrington that the company’s mobile app efforts were not up to standards and blamed HTML5 for its mobile weakness.

"Now we are all a mobile company and all the code is being written in mobile, Zuckberg added."We will make more money on mobile than we make on desktop."

More than half of the social network’s 1 billion users prefer to access their accounts through mobile.

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