Facebook Messenger changes are on their way, and it looks like the company is looking at making money through the app. According to leaked reports, advertisements through Messenger chats are on their way this year.
TechCrunch shared information about leaked documents about the changes to Facebook Messenger. The documents, with sources still anonymous, say that businesses will be able to send ads to some people through Messenger chats from the second quarter of 2016. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of the social media site, had already said he was looking to make Messenger pay, and this may be the option that he has come up with.
— TechCrunch (@TechCrunch) February 19, 2016
It is unsurprising, considering the recent changes to Facebook’s Pages. Businesses found last year that they were able to add call-to-action buttons at the top of their pages. This could lead to an email sign up page, a contact page, or even a buy button. The call-to-action would allow businesses to drive customers from their Fan Pages to their own websites to make money through the social media site.
There are limitations to the ads through Messenger, according to the document. Businesses will need to have already struck up a conversation with a customer first. This will then give them the option to send an ad through the actual chat thread. Businesses are being encouraged to strike up conversations now.
The documents were reportedly sent to Facebook business users. However, one user sent the email to TechCrunch to alert the publication. People can now be wary of the conversations they have through this part of the site, and do not need to accept the message if they prefer not to.
— Engadget (@engadget) February 19, 2016
This is not the only change coming to Facebook Messenger. Some changes have already taken place. Users with the latest update will notice that they can assign a color to their chat threads and give them nicknames. It creates a more personalized experience for users and makes it easier for them to find a chat thread when on their phones. This option is only available for Messenger for mobile, and not yet through the actual site.
There is now also the ability to log in with multiple accounts, making it easier for those who have two or more accounts; possibly for business reasons or to keep aspects of their lives separate. Before now, users had to keep logging in and out of Messenger to access the messages from various accounts. It is now easy to switch between the different accounts through the Accounts Settings, and the “+” sign will allow people to add new accounts. This may not be anything new considering Instagram—owned by Zuckerberg’s company—did start offering multiple account sign-ons for iOS and is currently testing it for Android.
— BI Tech (@SAI) February 18, 2016
— Andee Gardiner (@Andee_Gardiner) February 19, 2016
Another feature coming out is actually taking a backwards step for the company. Facebook is bringing back an SMS option, despite removing it a few years ago due to people not using it. It seems that individuals now want to be able to send a text message straight from the app to someone else’s phone. Considering some people have refused to give access to their contact information and camera, this could be useful because they will not have the Messenger app. It also means individuals can contact those who do not have Facebook accounts at all.
@engadget they make enough money the greedy bastards. Ads are annoying to start with. I won’t be using this app then.
— Mr. Bell (@HettonLad84) February 19, 2016
@engadget so we might see ads in WhatsApp in the future?
— Jay (@jaycaron87) February 19, 2016
— Forbes Tech News (@ForbesTech) February 13, 2016
While the changes have been a long time coming in some cases, there are some people worried about them. Facebook Messenger already uses up a lot of data and battery power by running in the background, according to IT Web. It is possible that the app will now use up more, forcing people to upgrade their packages or get rid of the app completely. The introduction of business ads could also be too intrusive and annoying.
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