Facebook’s Messenger app isn’t just for chatting with your friends anymore.
At its developers’ conference next month, Facebook plans to announce a way for news publishers to automatically send users content through Messenger, sources tell Marketing Land.
In other words, Facebook’s chat app will also become a newsreader of sorts.
That might seem odd, given that Facebook’s main social network already provides users with a newsfeed that’s chock full of news articles. And Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has previously said he wants to the social network’s newsfeed to be a “personalised newspaper” for every person in the world.
But Zuckerberg is also on a mission to bolster Facebook’s family of standalone apps. And with 800 million users, the Messenger app makes for a powerful news distribution platform — especially since it started allowing businesses to communicate with Facebook users in August 2015.
Facebook is also reportedly prepping to start letting those businesses pay to send Messenger blasts to users it’s chatted with before. It’s unclear whether there will be any immediate monetisation possibilities for publishers through Messenger, or if they will have to pay at all.
“Facebook aggressively moving to become a fully-fledged ecosystem,” writes Edison Investment Research analyst Richard Windsor in reaction to the publisher news.
The idea of Facebook expanding Messenger’s capabilities isn’t new.
The company first announced the goal of allowing developers to build more functionality and features into the chat app back at its 2015 F8 conference.
It launched with 40 app integrations on its Messenger Platform, which has since swelled to about 65, including notable new integrations from Spotify and Uber.
Facebook declined to comment on its plan to expand publishers’ Messenger capabilities.