Wednesday 28 September 2016

Facebook Messenger chatbots incoming - prepare for chatty spam

Daniel Anderson

Published 12/04/2016 | 08:50

Facebook Messenger
Facebook Messenger

Facebook Messenger is almost certainly about to receive chatbots, and they'll likely be announced officially today

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Facebook has a major developer conference kicking off in San Francisco today April 12th from 7pm Irish time. This is usually a good time for the social service to announce new products and features, and you can expect plenty to come from Mark Zuckeberg and co across the two day event.

One new addition which is almost certainly coming to Facebook Messenger is the addition of chat bots. It has been rumoured for awhile now and a recent update to the app strong suggests that it will be turned on soon. So what is a chat bot? Well it's essentially a piece of software which has been designed to simulate basic human interactions online, striking up and holding conversations using a list of rules and a selection of potential responses. A bit like Arnie in The Terminator.

In Messenger, these bots are going to be used by companies who want to sell you stuff. If you're following the page of a business, that's likely to be all the permission they need to potentially engage you in conversation with a bot to see if you're interested in their products. The short version is you're going to be getting chatty spam, and Facebook will want to be careful to ensure users can opt out if they want to.

All will be revealed at the F8 conference, which you can watch live here.

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