Alongside text and image chat the app has made continual improvements over the last 6 years and continues to add new features. Currently the service also offers voice calls, video calls, Giphy support allowing users to send Gifs from a large database, and recently Facebook have introduced a new ‘story’ feature designed to mimic a similar service from Snapchat. Stories allow users to post several photos in sequence which will disappear after a certain amount of time.
The actual messaging service works by showing you a list of online friends and allows you to pick one or multiple to start a conversation, though you can also send messages to those who are offline.
Facebook alerts can also be customised so that users do not have to suffer the annoying bombardment of pings every single time they receive a message. The app can be tailored to send notifications only when messages are received from certain people, or if the group chat is overloading with notifications, alerts can be either be permanently or temporarily muted.
The messaging service also utilises read receipts which can indicate whether the message you have sent is waiting to send, failed to send, has successfully been sent, or if it has been read and at precisely what time it was read.
Currently Facebook is also experimenting with the possibilities of chatbots and several businesses are already using them in the place of customer service employees. Chatbots are programmes which are capable of holding limited conversations with prospective customers in order to streamline the customer service process. The company is also expected to unveil the next line of these chatbots at its year F8 developer conference in late April.
As of July 2016 Facebook Messenger had over 1 billion active users.
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