Facebook’s dramatic announcement concerning the new tools for developers to build bots inside Facebook Messenger, brings a range of new functions to the popular communication app. The released tools include an API that permits developers to build chat bots for Messenger and chat widgets for the web.

In a developer blog post Facebook outlined the three main capabilities, as well as directing developers and businesses to the Messenger Platform page to obtain further information:

  • Send/Receive API: This new capability includes the ability to send and receive basic text, images and interactive rich bubbles containing multiple calls-to-action ("CTA");
  • Generic  message  templates:  include  structured  messages  with  calls-to-action,  horizontal scroll, URLs and postbacks; and
  • Welcome screen + null state CTAs: giving the developers the real estate and the tools to customize user's experience.

Nonetheless, according to the new policy, at this stage in time, the Send/Receive API must not be used to send marketing or promotional messages, such as sale or product announcements, brand advertising, branded content, newsletters or the up-selling or cross-selling of products or services.

All developers will be given full access to documentation for building their own bots for Messenger, which can then be submitted for review, and to ensure that its bots adhere to Facebook’s standards and protect the user experience.

It is expected that Messenger bots will facilitate a whole new range of ways for users to connect with brands, and have the potential to cause a significant and wider shift in eCommerce, while raising new compliance and regulatory challenges for developers.