Facebook Messenger's first year at F8 Developers Conference

In Light Of New Facebook Messenger Features, Company Is Considered Naive For Not Addressing Dangers

On April 7, Facebook published a blog post about the Messenger’s ability to allow people to communicate with businesses through the app.

For those who are not familiar with this method of communication, business who set up pages on Facebook have a direct messaging feature added last year, which when used, directly establishes a chat window from desktops or launches the Messenger app via a mobile device.

Many Facebook users had intentionally tried to stay away from using Facebook Messenger, due to various reports about possible spying and potential exposure of vulnerabilities to hackers.

Facebook Messenger on a smart phone.
Facebook Messenger App on phone. While it is a popular download, there are still many users who are reluctant to use it. [Image by iPhone Digital Via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0]
Back in 2014, Mashable wrote about how users were angry that the Messenger had been forced on them as a stand-alone application.

Since then the app has been effective in becoming the standard, even if it’s a matter of whether users have a choice or not, which might be clear by the amount of downloads the app stands at which is currently one billion.

Reports are stating that Facebook Messenger is looking to be the “everything app” as it appears that chat programs are more popular than even texting.

The Inquisitr wrote about the new direction the company is taking, suggesting that the app will eventually act as a wallet.

Before Facebook’s presentation at this year’s annual F8 Developer Conference, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Facebook Messenger team would reveal new chat bot features which will apparently help users purchase goods and services.

Facebook Messenger presented at keynote by CEO Zuckerberg
Facebook Messenger is presented for the second year in a row, at the 2015 F8 Developer’s conference. Here is CEO Mark Zuckerberg during the keynote address, in San Francisco. He says that users will soon be able to order flowers, request news articles, and talk with businesses by sending them direct text messages. The company is releasing new tools that businesses can use to build “chat bots,” or programs that talk to customers in conversational language. [Image by Eric Risberg | AP Photo]
Mashable has also expressed in another article how Facebook is dwelling on the monetization of the app at the conference.

Collaborating with companies to communicate to people through the Facebook Messenger app could provide additional revenue to the social network.

NPR‘s All Tech Considered section recently explained how Facebook Messenger is out to “kill other apps,” and yet in the article, it also states how Zuckerberg’s presentation left out the dangers the app would pose when connecting others who are looking to help violent causes, such as those related to ongoing Middle Eastern conflicts.

The Jerusalem Post recently published an article about a supporter of Israel who is looking to crowd fund billboards, that would be displayed near Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s house. The person claims that Zuckerberg is doing nothing about Palestinians posting violent videos and messages on the social network encouraging attacks on Israeli citizens.

This also appears to be the case where the self-proclaimed Islamic State has been submitting explicit footage or using the network as a recruitment tool.

In the NPR article, a sociologist from the University of North Carolina is quoted, calling the company “naive” for not acknowledging these issues, relying on users to report the violations when they see them.

“Tufekci says Facebook has not paid nearly enough attention to the ugly things that happen when people come together. In Myanmar, the Buddhist majority has used Facebook to share calls for the killing of Muslim minorities. Militants use the site as a weapons bazaar, even after Facebook banned gun sales.

“Facebook relies on users of its site to report violations. As purchases move from public feeds and groups to the privacy of Messenger, this model of online community policing — which already fails to catch wrongdoing — will not work, Tufekci says.”

The article also says that they had reached out to Facebook for comment but did not get a reply.

Zeynep Tufekci went even further to call the optimism Zuckerberg showed at the conference to connect people at every level and region as “mushy” optimism, and says that they’re surprised that with Facebook being a decade-old company, he’s still this optimistic, or that he still speaks in those terms.

CNBC has recently published an article which explains all of the Facebook Messenger announcements referred to in this year’s conference.

[Image by Maurizio Pesce via Flickr | CC BY 2.0]

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