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 like Kik, Line and Telegram that have their own bot platforms.
This confirms Tech Crunch’s scoops from January that Facebook was working with chatbot developers, and last week that a program for automated agents would launch at F8.
Come ask questions, share experiences, and give and get support with other chat members.Both could allow bots to push people to buy products to recoup the ad costs.Facebook sure isn’t the only chatbot game in town, but because of Messenger’s 900 million user reach, its vast connections with advertisers and a healthy developer ecosystem built over years, it might provide the most attractive platform on which to run them.Based on the same system Facebook uses to teach its own artificial intelligence M, developers can feed the Bot Engine sample conversations and it will learn how to handle similar conversations on its own.Chatbots have suddenly become the biggest thing in tech.
For companies already connecting with customers over SMS, a phone-number matching tool will let them easily shift those conversations to people’s Messenger account instead, thanks to a partnership with Twilio.