Facebook is the largest social networking service that has over 3 billion active users across its different platforms. Facebook messenger is its messaging app for Facebook that allowed users to send or receive text, photos, and videos over the internet that has over 1 billion active users. Even though the app is an extension of Facebook, for a long time, Facebook had allowed potential users of the Messenger app to sign up for the platform without needing to have a Facebook account. Users could sign up using their phone number, name, and photo and use the platform to send messages to other Facebook and Messenger users. Now, Facebook has removed that feature. That means you will no longer be able to sign up for Facebook Messenger if you don’t have a Facebook account. The same can also be verified on Facebook’s Help Center page for Messenger.
In a statement to VentureBeat, a company spokesperson confirmed this as well. “We found that the vast majority of people who use Messenger already log in through Facebook, and we want to simplify the process. If you already use Messenger without a Facebook account, no need to do anything” said the Facebook spokesperson.
From the statement, it is clear that this change will only affect new users. Users who are already using Facebook Messenger with phone numbers won’t be affected. However, according to a few comments on a Reddit thread, many people who are using Messenger app with only phone numbers are getting errors saying their accounts have been restricted. This may be due to some bugs on Facebook, and it is expected to be resolved very soon.
Many believe that this move from Facebook is part of its grand plan to integrate all the Facebook platforms with Facebook. Facebook is long planning to integrate WhatsApp, Instagram, and Messenger to Facebook to allow people to reach others across the platform from one place. WhatsApp has over 1.5 billion users, Instagram has over 1.3 billion, and Facebook has almost a billion users. Combining all these 3 billion users onto one is a behemoth task, and Facebook is working hard to make it happen sooner than later. Considering Facebook’s track record with users’ privacy, many people have raised concerns about the possible merger, and it will be interesting to see how Facebook handles privacy this time around.
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