You now need a Facebook account to sign up for Facebook Messenger

Up until this week, Facebook didn’t actually require a Facebook Messenger user to have a Facebook account. But that has changed.

VentureBeat has the report this week, based on communication with Facebook. As mentioned above, Facebook actually made it possible to sign up and use Facebook Messenger — the company’s popular messaging platform — without requiring an actual Facebook account. However, according to the social networking giant, most people were already signing up with an account to use Messenger, so this is all jus meant to simplify things.

If you’re new to Messenger, you’ll notice that you need a Facebook account to chat with friends and close connections,” a spokesperson said via email. “We found that the vast majority of people who use Messenger already log in through Facebook and we want to simplify the process.

This change is just for new Facebook Messenger users, though. If you are already using Messenger without a Facebook account, that won’t change. You won’t need to go back and create a Facebook account to keep using the messaging service.

However! The report indicates that some Messenger users without a Facebook account are experiencing a warning that tells them their accounts have been restricted, and therefore inaccessible, despite Facebook’s comment on the matter. It’s possible this is just a bug, though, and it may get cleared up soon.

While Facebook says it is trying to simplify things, this report from VB suggests it could have something to do with Facebook’s plan to integrate all of its major messaging platforms, including WhatsApp, Instagram, and Messenger. However, it has been reported separately that the FTC may block that move.

It may seem strange that Facebook wouldn’t require a Facebook account to use Messenger, but it’s been that way since 2015. Hopefully it turns out that current users without an account are just running into a bug that’s restricting access and Facebook isn’t actually requiring current users to make a change like that to keep using Messenger.

If you don’t have a Facebook account and use Messenger, have you run into the error message? Or is your experience still working the way it should?