A reader likes Messenger but isn’t keen on Facebook:

“While I logged out of Facebook on December 31, 2018 with no intention of going back, I haven’t found a suitable replacement for Messenger yet. In October 2019, I deactivated my Facebook account, but if I delete the account, I lose Messenger. Everything related to “Facebook” (including a half-dozen system apps) have been deleted or disabled from my Android phone – but unless I kill Messenger, I’m stuck in Zuckerworld. I may end up telling my contacts there to text or email me, and kill it off anyway.”

You do need some type of account with Facebook to use their Messenger app. But you don’t have to ever have used the social media platform to take advantage of the many features of Messenger. It’s possible to download the Messenger app for your phone and sign up with just a phone number.

You can also choose to deactivate your Facebook account and continue to use Messenger. The difference between deactivation and deleting your account is that if you choose deletion your information is completely gone and you can’t reactivate your account.

However, you could choose to uninstall Messenger, delete your Facebook account completely, redownload Messenger, and then start again with just a phone number. You’d have a brand new Messenger account. Of course, you’d lose your message history and contacts and have to start fresh. That may be something you’re not willing to do.

The standalone Messenger app can be installed on your Android or iPhone and is also available in the Windows store for Windows 10 and for your Mac.

Don’t forget that you can delete all of your photos, videos, and posts from your Facebook account. You could even try a Chrome extension like Social Book Post Manager to delete those posts in bulk.

I will agree with you that as a messaging app, Messenger is hard to beat. Unfortunately, as with all free apps and services, if they aren’t charging you for the product, you’re the product.