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Facebook doubles down on business messaging

9:43 PT

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Facebook-owned WhatsApp can be used to chat with a business.


Queenie Wong/CNET

The coronavirus pandemic has fueled a growth in online shopping so it’s no surprise that Facebook is ramping up its efforts in business messaging. 

Emile Litvak, Facebook’s head of business messaging said the company’s vision is for the social network to be the primary way people and businesses communicate. Total conversations between people and businesses on Messenger and Instagram grew by more than 40% over the last year, he said. 

Facebook is giving developers more tools to build more messaging experiences on Facebook’s photo service, Instagram, where people already go to shop and get customer support. Ankur Prasad, Facebook’s director of business messaging, said opening up the Messenger API for Instagram will help improve the relationship between customers and businesses. Customers could easily get in touch with a live agent, for example, if their orders haven’t arrived. 

Facebook-owned WhatsApp is also making it easier to chat with businesses, including prewritten “list” messages so users don’t have to type out common responses and reply buttons.

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