Facebook launches Messenger platform with chatbots

Facebook will now allow businesses to deliver automated customer support, e-commerce guidance, content and interactive experiences through chatbots. By providing utility through its huge developer and business ecosystem, Facebook could boost loyalty with Messenger, one-up SMS and keep up with chat competitors likeKik, Line and Telegram that have their own bot platforms.

This confirms TechCrunch’s scoops from January that Facebook was working with chatbot developers, and last week that a program for automated agents would launch at F8. [Update: the official name for the platform is “bots on Messenger” not “agents on Messenger,” which was a previous codename.]

Facebook announced a slew of chatbot partnerships with developers who got early access, like 1–800-Flowers, so you can order flowers by just sending its Messenger bot a friend’s name. Or CNN could send you a “daily digest” of stories that match your interests, and skip the topics you don’t care about.

Zuckerberg explained that with AI and natural language processing combined with human help, people will be able to talk to Messenger bots just like they talk to friends.

For more on what F8 really means, read my thought piece: Facebook Alive