The announcement was made during the company's fourth quarter earnings call yesterday.
"You should also expect us to start building a few of these other things that we will focus on over time and develop into meaningful things like Messenger and Instagram are today," Facebook CEO Mark Zukerberg said yesterday.
Facebook launched Messenger app in 2011 and rolled out some big updates in the last quarter of 2013.
On the call, Facebook CFO David Ebersman said that Messenger's users grew 70 per cent in the three-month period.
"We've taken it out of the main app so it gets room to breathe," Zuckerberg said of the reason for turning Messenger into a standalone app.
He noted there was room for "a lot" of different utilities in the future, and offered Facebook Groups as one possibility.
"We now have more than half a billion people using groups every month," he added. "It was sort of seen as a feature of the Facebook app rather than its own product."