Facebook’s chatbot efforts haven’t gone unnoticed, but now the company is preparing a new capability that will likely be met with some criticism from users. Facebook’s vice president of messaging products David Marcus announced at Web Summit 2016 in Dublin that the company is preparing to allow companies to advertise directly to users via Messenger (via CNET).
According to Marcus, Facebook users will start seeing ads in their News Feed as soon as this week that allow them to click straight into a Messenger conversation with a company. However, the biggest change, comes after you strike up a conversation with a brand.
If a user has communicated with a brand in the past via Messenger, those brands will now be able to pay to send sponsored messages.
With this change, though, Facebook is building in some safeguards to prevent companies from spamming users. If a company reaches out to a user and attempts to re-engage, then the user has the ability to block that conversation.
Facebook is sure to confirm, however, that it’s keeping users’ privacy at the forefront of these new efforts. Facebook hopes ability to instantly block a company will encourage companies who take advantage of the platform to build quality ads and make the messages worth the time of the user. ‘
Such perks might sound appealing, but the main reassurance to privacy-loving Facebook users is that no company can get in touch with them if they haven’t already started a conversation with the company themselves. This, according to Marcus, helps to “preserve the integrity of the platform.”
Marcus likens Facebook Messenger’s new initiative to no-reply email ads. “If a company writes you an email it’s usually a no-reply ad,” Marcus said. “We have a path to providing a much better user experience for that.”
These new Facebook ads will start appearing for users as early as this week, and if you’ve communicated with a company in the past via Messenger, don’t be too surprised if you start receiving messages. If you receive a message from a company, let us know what you think of it down in the comments.