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Facebook has recently started allowing sign ups for Messenger with only a phone number instead of a full Facebook account.

So:

  • If I sign up to Messenger with only a phone number
  • And I have previously used that number as an account recovery mechanism for a full Facebook account
  • And that account has since been deactivated (but not deleted)

Will Facebook join the dots and attempt to reactivate my dormant full Facebook account when I try to sign up on Messenger?

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Facebook will recognise the number and tell you to either:

  • "Log in with Facebook" (thus connecting your full account)
  • or "Continue signing up" (which will keep your new Messenger identity separate, and you will go on to enter a first name, last name, and optionally a photo).

If you do this separate phone number sign up, and you search for your own name in the contact search screen, you may be able to find what looks like a full Facebook profile of yourself. Nope, they did not reactivate your full account. They actually seem to create a new Facebook account with your name, phone number, and profile photo all publicly visible - this is presumably their chosen way make you discoverable to people with full Facebook accounts.

Source: Messenger for iOS (UK)

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