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Facebook Messenger chatbots are about to get way better

by Jacob Kleinman | July 1, 2016July 1, 2016 7:00 pm PDT

When Facebook first opened up Messenger to chatbots earlier this year, the entire platform felt a little half-baked. Even still, it has still managed to attract over 11,000 bots since April. Now the company is rolling a big update packed with new features that should make for a significantly better experience.

Developers will be able to add support for different types of media files so chatbots can send you a GIF or a video, for example. Messenger is also adding new quick replies to chatbot questions. For example, if a bot asks what your favorite movie genre is, you’ll see a list of options to pick from instead of having to type your answer out.

Another big improvement is the option to mute specific chatbots the same way you can mute a friend of a group chat. Messenger is also adding star ratings so you can rate each bot, along with the option to provide more detailed feedback. Finally, Facebook is making it possible to link to other private accounts from inside the app, though you’ll have to opt-in directly for each account you add.

There’s a bunch of other smaller improvements too, including read receipts and typing notifications for bots, and a more persistent menu across the board. All of these new tools should be available for developers soon, but it could be a little longer before we see them implemented in specific chatbots.


Jacob Kleinman

Jacob Kleinman has been working as a journalist online and in print since he arrived at Wesleyan University in 2007. After graduating, he took a...