Messenger at F8 – App review re-opens, New products for Businesses and Developers launch

Today at F8 we are pleased to announce that app review has reopened. We appreciate your patience as we’ve invested in the integrity of our platform, please be sure to review the updated developer docs in regards to the app review process.

We’re also happy to announce three new products for Messenger; AR for the Messenger Platform, a new integration for built-in NLP and M suggestions for translations. These products were created thanks to the feedback we have gotten from businesses, developers and the people who use Messenger every day.  Here’s what we announced today:

AR for the Messenger Platform

We’re launching the ability for brands to integrate AR camera effects into their Messenger experience to delight and engage their customers in new ways. We’re initially launching this in closed beta with a handful of partners including Asus, KIA, Nike and Sephora.

Businesses will be able to use this new feature by employing templates that can open the Messenger camera so that when people tap on it, the camera will open with pre-loaded filters or AR effects that are tailored specifically to the brand and experience. People can then take a photo or record a video that incorporates these effects which they are then able to save to their camera roll, share in a group or one-to-one conversation, or even add it to their Story.

Until now, brands could use automation to connect one on one with people using bots for Messenger or to add value to group conversations using chat extensions. AR effects are the next step in this evolution, allowing brands to build compelling, utilitarian visual experiences for their customers while driving tangible business results at scale with a built-in audience of 1.3 billion people. And what’s more, businesses can build their experiences on top of our AR Platform without having to invest in a bespoke infrastructure.

If you’re a business interested in incorporating AR effects into your Messenger experience, you can sign-up for our waitlist here and be notified when this feature becomes more broadly available.

F8 camera effects examples

New Integration with Built-in NLP

Today we also launched the ability for developers to integrate built-in NLP with their Page inbox, allowing them to easily create a custom Wit app based on frequently asked questions and themes in their Messenger conversations.

Last year we launched built-in NLP, a simple way for developers to incorporate Natural Language Processing (NLP) into their bots. When built-in NLP is enabled, it automatically detects meaning and information in the text of messages that a person sends. Since launch, we have continued to add new entities and languages to built-in NLP.  It currently supports 14 built-in entities and is available in 21 languages.

However, until today, creating custom built-in NLP entities required developers to anticipate the types of questions people would send, and label conversations on an ad-hoc basis. This is why we are launching this integration. Recognizing that each business has unique needs and recurring themes that matter to them and their customers, it’s essential that their bot be able to respond appropriately. So, if, for example, a Page is frequently asked questions like “what are your hours” and “when are you open”, they might create a “store hours” entity via the Page inbox training. This ability to easily customize their bot will enhance developers’ ability to connect with their customers about the right things at the right time.

For more information about the built-in NLP integration with the Page inbox click here.

M Translations

Finally, we continue to add features to M Suggestions. M is your helpful assistant in Messenger, powered by completely automated artificial intelligence. M offers suggestions by popping into an open conversation to suggest relevant content and capabilities to enrich the way people communicate and get things done.

Starting today when you receive a message in a language that is different from your default language in Messenger, M will ask if you would like to translate the message. When you tap on the suggestion, you will be asked if you would like to enable automatic translation. If you opt-in to auto-translation, all future messages that you receive in that conversation that are not in your default language will be automatically translated. Auto-translations are enabled on a per-conversation basis, and you can opt out at any time by going to the conversation settings.

At launch, M translations will translate from English to Spanish (and vice-versa) and be available in Marketplace conversations between buyers and sellers in the United States. We plan to expand this feature and gradually roll out M translations to people using Messenger in the US in the coming weeks.

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