Facebook has finally given Brits the ability to access its Messenger app. The app, which was first launched in the US last month and is free to download, is designed to rival BlackBerry Messenger by allowing users to send messages to others member of the social network or your contacts (providing they too have the app installed) direct from the app without the need to log into the social network itself. Facebook says the messages will be delivered through notifications and texts, "so your friends are more likely to get them right away".

Here's how to use Facebook Messenger on an Apple iPhone or Google Android device.

Step one
Start by downloading the app. Once installed, launch Messenger.

Step two
You'll be required to enter the email address you signed-up to Facebook with along with your password. Then press Log in to Facebook.

Step three
You'll be presented with a copy of your inbox from your Facebook profile. To view any of these messages, simply tap on the contacts name and your whole conversation will be displayed. To reply to any of these message simply press the text box at the bottom of the window and begin typing your message.

Step four
Alternatively you can create a new message by tapping the speech bubble and pen icon located in the top left-hand corner of the app window. Begin typing the name of a contact in the To box at the top of the window and select the recipient from the list displayed.

Step five
Now simply press the text box and begin typing your message. You'll be able to include the location you sent the message from, while the camera icon located to the far left-hand side of the text box allows you to attach an image. When finished, press Send. Your message will be sent. If the recipient also has the Messenger app installed on their smartphone, they'll receive a notification alerting them to the fact they have a message. Alternatively, the message will pop-up next time they log into the social network, or depending upon their preferences, they may also receive an email notifying them of the message.