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Facebook Messenger chatbots will soon allow businesses to sell directly to consumers

The announcement suggests FB may be able to monetize its free messaging application

PTI|
Last Updated: Sep 14, 2016, 12.23 PM IST
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SAN FRANCISCO: Facebook announced today a new online payment system that will allow businesses to sell directly to consumers on its Messenger application.

"We're kicking off the beginning of messages with payments that will allow businesses to sell products and services directly to customers in Messenger," the huge social network said in a statement.

"Customers can check out with a few easy clicks, without ever leaving the Messenger app."

The announcement suggests Facebook may be able to monetize its free messaging application, which is used by over a billion people, by making it an e-commerce platform.

Facebook earlier this year opened up Messenger to developers to create new applications and "bots" which can interact with users. These bots can provide information but consumers who wanted to make a purchase had to be directed to an external website.

The company said developers have created more than 30,000 bots for Messenger, and many more developers are working on applications.

"We believe the potential for the Messenger platform is huge, and we continue to invest in making it better for developers to build and create," the statement said.

"Moving forward, we are also simplifying the payment and checkout experience in order to reduce the overall friction between wanting something and getting it. People can use their payment information already stored on Messenger and Facebook to check out faster in Messenger threads."
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