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You now need a Facebook account to sign up to Messenger

Back in 2015, Facebook tried to expand its Messenger app to those who for whatever reason decided they didn’t want or need a full Facebook account. That option has been quietly removed, VentureBeat has spotted.

If you’re new to Messenger, you’ll notice that you need a Facebook account to chat with friends and close connections,” a spokesperson for the company told the site. The help page has also been updated to reflect the change.

Why? “We found that the vast majority of people who use Messenger already log in through Facebook and we want to simplify the process,” the spokesperson continued. “If you already use Messenger without a Facebook account, [there is] no need to do anything.”

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It may simplify things in a very mild way, but it will also be quite handy for Messenger to require full accounts, given the company’s plans to integrate the infrastructure behind both with Instagram and WhatsApp

Still, presumably there were people the company was keen on attracting who didn’t have full Facebook accounts at one point. Either Facebook has found that not enough people were using their phone numbers, or its realised that having the option there was preventing people from ‘upgrading’ to full Facebook accounts.

Related: How to delete Instagram

The upcoming decade looks like a big one for Facebook in the messaging space. Earlier this year, CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg outlines the company’s aim to make messaging more secure.

“People should be able to use any of our apps to reach their friends, and they should be able to communicate across networks easily and securely,” he wrote. “We plan to start by making it possible for you to send messages to your contacts using any of our services, and then to extend that interoperability to SMS too.”