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Facebook is Boosting Its Businesses — and Its Bots

Facebook Messenger Platform 2.0 Introduces Discover

* Facebook Messenger unveils Platform 2.0
* More business to consumer services
* Renewed focus on chat extensions and bots

Despite the competition from Snapchat, and new features from Instagram, Facebook Messenger still remains one of the most popular messaging apps in the world, with more than 1.2 billion monthly users, according to the company. Now, Facebook wants to use Messenger to also improve the way businesses communicate with customers — and vice-versa.

Facebook Messenger Platform 2.0 as introduced a Discover tab just for businesses. Tap the hexagon icon on the bottom right and you’ll see a list of businesses, filtered by your location, or categories like Food & Drink, Entertainment and News. From there you can find out more information about any business, book an appointment or simply start a conversation.

Facebook is also pushing the use of bots through their Chat Extensions feature. This feature gives bots the ability to make content suggestions based on what you’re chatting about on Messenger. For example, if you’re talking with a friend about the new Spotify update, the bot can pull up Spotify and let you select a song or page to share. You can also share invites to games, or restaurant reservation details.

Finally, the new update enhances the “M Suggestions” feature that Messenger rolled out recently. The personal assistant feature is now linked to delivery.com. What does that mean? If you’re chatting with your friends about what to have for dinner, M will pop up with a suggestion on where to go or what to eat. It’s a way to get all your information and planning done, without having to leave the app or your Facebook page.

If you’re worried about intrusion or annoying messages, know this: Facebook’s bots and M feature will only show up if you click “allow” or engage with them first.