What Are Facebook Messenger Chat Bots?

by Megan Grant

Facebook has taken another step in its quest to take over the world and recently announced the birth of chat bots. What are Facebook Messenger chat bots, and how are they making Messenger even more savvy and interactive than it already is? At f8, the yearly conference for software developers, Mark Zuckerberg explained that similar to the intimate way you chat with friends on Messenger, so will you be able to chat with businesses and get updates from them.

Before you start to panic, this isn't an update that we will all have to use whether we like it or not; you'll have the option to mute companies you don't want to speak to. But the push on Facebook's end is definitely an understandable one, as more and more people are turning to social media apps for help, and not a company's website. For example, Eventbrite will soon be selling events directly on Facebook. In fact, 900 million people use the messaging app in a single month.

As of now, the more than 50 million businesses who are on Messenger have been given the tools by Facebook needed to develop this interactive upgrade. Here are the basic need-to-know facts.

What Are Chat Bots?


Facebook Messenger chat bots are interactive software fueled by artificial intelligence, with extra help from human beings. They are intended to simulate conversation and help you perform simple tasks, giving you an increasingly personalized experience.

What Do They Do?


Thus far, chat bots have already proven to be useful for a variety of tasks. Recently, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has been allowing passengers check in, get updates, and talk to customer service reps directly from the Facebook Messenger app. Additionally, you'll be able to schedule a ride with your favorite ride-sharing service, chat with a hotel about your hotel accommodations, and a whole lot more.

Have They Hit The United States Yet?


The United States and Europe are still catching on to the concept of chat bots, but they have made their mark in Asia, being used to help people schedule doctors' appointments, shop for clothes, and play games. The adoption of chat bots in Facebook Messenger will no doubt help them gain some major steam in the United States, though.

Where Can You Expect Them?


Since the bots could likely be programmed for any kind of company, don't be surprised when you run into them more and more while shopping online, tracking the shipping status of something you've ordered, making reservations for your favorite restaurant, ordering take-out, scheduling flowers to be delivered, and more. This is great news for you if you follow some of the businesses you use on Facebook, and it'll make communication with them noticeably more convenient.

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