Users new to Facebook Messenger will not be able to sign up without a Facebook account anymore. Earlier a phone number was all that was required to get Messenger up and running. However, the once standalone service would now require a Facebook account to sign up, reports VentureBeat.

The social networking giant quietly removed the ability to sign up for Messenger without a Facebook account. “If you’re new to Messenger, you’ll notice that you need a Facebook account to chat with friends and close connections,” a spokesperson was quoted as saying in the report on Thursday. But why did the company take this step?

The upcoming seamless Facebook ecosystem

The spokesperson added that “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”. However, there were reports by some Messenger users that said otherwise. These non-Facebook account users, started getting error messages while trying to login with their phone numbers.

The move is likely a step towards the company’s upcoming seamlessly connected ecosystem. This includes the three apps WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had recently revealed that the company future plans. These included making it possible for users within the ecosystem to reach each other irrespective of what app they were on. For instance, this would make it possible to message your Instagram friend through your WhatsApp account.

“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,” said Zuckerberg recently. “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,” he added. As of now, nearly 1.3 billion people use Messenger each month.

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