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The Facebook Messenger 2.0 Platform: What Is It And Why Is It Important?

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Photo credit: Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)

What is the Facebook Messenger 2.0 platform, and why is it important? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Brian Roemmele, Founder and Editor at Read Multiplex, on Quora:

What is the Facebook Messenger 2.0 platform, and why is it important?

Messenger 2.0 is a huge leap for the platform and for Facebook. It is clear they will give the bot platform a voice. Ultimately, we will likely see Facebook create an Alexa-like Voice First device.

Many assumed the bot was dead already, Facebook made it far more intelligent.

Facebook is already the equivalent to the White Pages directory of a bygone phone era, a 1.2 billion-person modern directory. At the F8 conference, Facebook announced that it is moving to become the Yellow pages and using AI to facilitate the programming to over 60 million businesses on the platform. At last year’s F8 conference, Facebook announced the bot platform and the intelligent agent called M on the Messenger platform. The bot platform attracted many developers and also far more users than most observers have understood. There have been stories of very high engagement and very high sales via the platform. Although the infrastructure for users and developers have been a bit of a disappointment, the concept has proven itself in places like China. With Messenger 2.0, Facebook is moving the platform to be far more useful.

While the quality of bots over the last year has been mixed, a year later these new features could help Facebook, which now has 5 million active advertisers, build a wider, more active user base and “reinvent the way people and businesses are communicating” as Facebook’s VP of messaging David Marcus put it last year. Many tech observers have called bots a failure and assumed Facebook would give up on bots. In fact, it’s making them easier to use and access than ever thanks to elements of Messenger 2.0 and in particular Chat Extensions, which is a way for multiple people in your group chat to chat with the same business at the same time and thereby create a new way for many potential commerce interactions. This is all part of the M Suggestions, the wide release of the Facebook M personal assistant feature that rolled out in Messenger a few of weeks ago.

“We’ve created an ecosystem of developers that are now enabling large companies to do different types of things, whether they want to do brand stuff or whether they want to plug into their huge call centers with thousands of people and allow them to answer Messenger messages instead of phone calls”— David Marcus, VP Facebook

There are many elements of the new Messenger 2.0 platform, but here are the highlights:

Smart Replies:

One of Facebook’s main goals with Messenger last year was to make businesses use the product more to interact with customers. With Smart Replies, this will be an order of magnitude more successful at using Messenger. Smart Replies let businesses with Business Pages use Facebook’s AI bot engine to automatically respond to frequently asked questions such as business hours and contact details. The smart replies API gives businesses the ability to create an AI responder, powered by Facebook’s Wit.ai code. Today the system will do this in a completely automatic way with no programming on the part of the merchant. The AI and Machine Learning (ML) will scan the Business Page and produce an instant and useful response to basic questions.

Over time the ML will become more informed about successful responses and constantly update to deliver the correct or desired result. At this point Smart Replies are limited to basic questions and intents, in the future this will expand to far more complex operations that include commerce. For example, placing a food order at a quick service restaurant would be a next likely avenue that is not much more complex than scanning a FAQ page. I also see this extending into web commerce with the same very high potential for commerce.

Smart Replies will bring millions of small and medium sized businesses into an area that would have cost perhaps thousands of dollars. This solves the chicken/egg problem to populate the Bot platform, overnight millions of businesses can be on the platform making it very useful. Small and medium sized merchants can focus on responding to questions that fall outside of the abilities of the AI and over time the AI will have the answer ready. Today, Facebook is starting off by providing this service…

Does Facebook Own My Photos?

Like clockwork, every couple of months some “fact” about Facebook goes viral. Facebook is going to start charging you money! Copy and paste this status or Facebook will cook your children! As soon as you upload them, Facebook owns your photos!

That last one is especially common, so let’s talk about it.

What Rights Does Facebook Have to Your Photos?

Let’s start by getting on the same basic page: no, Facebook doesn’t own your photos. That’s not how copyright or real life works. They’re still your photos, not Facebook’s. In fact, it’s right in Facebook’s terms of service: “You own all of the content and information you post on Facebook.“

Got it? Good. Myth busted. Now let’s address what rights Facebook does have with your photos once you upload them. Here’s the relevant bit of the terms of service:

You own all of the content and information you post on Facebook, and you can control how it is shared through your privacy and application settings. In addition:

  1. For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (IP content), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.
  2. When you delete IP content, it is deleted in a manner similar…

You Can Chat With Albert Einstein’s Facebook Bot Alter-Ego

Albert Einstein is on Facebook, and he’s ready to chat. As a promotion for its new show, Genius, the National Geographic Channel has created an Albert Einstein bot for Facebook Messenger. You can banter back and forth with the theoretical version of the theoretical physicist about life, love, and science—although he’s quick to warn that “I become absent-minded during light conversations that do not involve the physical properties of light.”

Nevertheless, he will tell you all about his long list of lovers and send you plenty of GIFs from the show. The bot is more fun than most—full of puns and pithy…

New Research Shows Too Much Time on Facebook Could Be Making You Sad

Poring over your friends’ Facebook timelines and showering their posts with likes may make them feel good, but it could be having the opposite effect on your own well-being.

That’s the conclusion drawn by a new study conducted at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and published in the American Journal of Epidemiology [PDF]. After collecting data from over 5000 participants, researchers looked at the correlation between respondents’ Facebook use (specifically how often they like posts, click links, and update their own statuses) and their self-reported mental health, physical condition, and overall life satisfaction.

What they found was that subjects who increased their use of the social media network reported a decreased sense of well-being, with a…

I Deleted 564 Friends On Facebook But I Have Saved 100 Real Life Friendships

I was meeting one of my best friends from college last weekend. She lives abroad for work but she will come back at least once a year; every time she’s back she will definitely make an effort to see me and It feels like she never left.

During our chat, she asked: “Do you think it’s getting a lot harder to make friends as we grow up?” I laughed and said: “Who doesn’t think like that?”

Her question was stuck in my mind that night, and suddenly I have come up with another thought.

I opened my Facebook. Slowly and gradually, I deleted 564 friends that night.

Making friends is actually a lot easier than you think.

Let me prove this.

Imagine you met someone interesting at a party and you feel like it would be great if you guys can stay connected after the party. So the next thing you do was get onto Facebook, search the name, move your fingertip to the magic button “Add friends” and JOB DONE!

Just one magic click and you guys are friends now. Just as simple as you see.

However, I think this redirected me to a deeper question.

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What’s the true meaning of friends?

I tried to find an answer by recalling memories on how I make friends before “The Dawn Of Facebook”.

We approach new people, we talk to them, we share, we build trust and most importantly we make connections, in real life. After experiencing parts of our lives together, we value them as “friends.”

Then I asked myself while looking at my Facebook friend list, “How many of them have gone through that process?”

This is why I decided don’t want to get overwhelmed by life updates from people who I don’t even recall who they are.