Facebook Messenger is Facebook’s dedicated messaging application, now residing separately from Facebook in its own platform. Facebook Chat launched in 2008, but in 2011, Facebook introduced Messenger as another way to message. It used to be optional, but eventually downloading the app for mobile use became a requirement, as Facebook discontinued any mobile chat options directly from its main application. Messenger offers typical chat features, such as emojis and gifs, as well as file sharing and video call options.
As Facebook draws criticism for its security breaches and less-than-perfect data protection, Messenger—as a communication application—receives similar concern. If conversations aren’t protected, Messenger users should be aware of the information they share within the app. At the time of writing, only “secret” messages, or conversations between two users, can be encrypted (if they select that option).
In September 2020, Facebook Messenger limited the number of people to whom users can forward messages: five others at a time. This was partly due to COVID-19, because information had been spread through messages rapidly, and Facebook was concerned about misinformation and rumors. This could also slow the spread of viral links (often sent to many users when a friend’s account is hacked) and prevent people from spamming their Facebook contacts with unwanted information or advertising.
Facebook Messenger and marketing
Messenger has also become a popular customer relations tool. Customers are often more willing to contact businesses through messaging than an email or phone call because it feels more casual, and phone calls can be intimidating. Businesses can also choose how much they customize their Facebook Messenger responses and build their marketing platform through that. Businesses also have the option to use chatbots, which automatically form responses to customers and remind them of past purchases and searched items. Because chatbots have artificial intelligence features, they can learn to respond accordingly to customers and remember their past choices. Messenger chatbots are a great marketing automation tool for businesses to add to their arsenal.