Facebook will soon allow publishers to use its messaging app as a new platform for sharing stories.
This means that users will not only see their News Feeds filled with articles, but also come across with content that publishers would share in Messenger threads.
Early rumors suggest that Facebook is already working on a software development kit that would enable developers to create Messenger-based chat bots. It was said that these developers who are testing out the new software also include publishers.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg somehow hinted at the future of its messaging platform when he revealed the type of sessions that should be expected on its upcoming Facebook's F8 Developer Conference in April.
Apart from holding talks on Facebook Lite, Facebook Business Pages and Android Apps, there will also be discussions on News Publishers and Readers, WhatsApp, Graph API and Immutable Objects, according to Zuckerberg.
On the event's first day of conference, Zuckerberg will formally take the stage with a keynote where he will talk about how Facebook can help developers to build, grow and monetize success, as well as the future projects that they can expect from the social media company.
One of the earlier tools that developers began testing earlier this year is a chat bot-plugged Messenger, which will allow users to request Uber rides using a Messenger conversation thread.
Tech firm Imperson also created a chat bot for the "The Muppets" character Miss Piggy in order to allow an exchange of conversations and replies with fans. The bot would reportedly use computer algorithms to analyze the fan-sent messages and then send out a reply by choosing the most relevant response based on a predetermined list.
Last fall, Facebook also rolled out the Notify app which seemed to feature another way that the Messenger can be used by publishers. People who subscribe to the app can receive push notifications from a number of publishers such as Fox Sports, People, Mashable and The New York Times, among others. They can also view the article in an in-app browser by simply clicking on the alerts that they get from the notifications tab of their devices.
Apart from the Messenger, publishers are also exploring other messaging apps for sharing content. These include BBC News which uses Viber and WhatsApp; The Huffington Post which is on Viber; The Economist which uses Line; and BuzzFeed, NBC News and The Washington Post, which all have tried using Kik.
Last month, Facebook announced that its Messenger now has more than 800 million active monthly users worldwide. According to Nielsen, Messenger gained more active monthly users in the United States on average compared to any other messaging platforms on either iOS or Android.
It remains to be seen how the move will allow publishers and other businesses to monetize from the content that they share through Messenger. With Facebook's growing number of users, it seems that the possibility of selling brands on sponsored messages looks very enticing indeed and we'll learn more about it at Facebook's upcoming F8 conference.