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Facebook debuts Messenger Platform, will support third-party apps

Facebook Messenger Platform Everlane appFacebook Messenger Platform Everlane app

Facebook on Wednesday officially unveiled what it calls “Messenger Platform,” an opening-up of its dedicated messaging application that will allow third-party software developers to build apps within the social networking giant’s proprietary mobile app.

“There are going to be a lot of things we can do with Messenger over time,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg told an audience of developers at the company’s annual F8 developers conference in San Francisco.

Messenger’s 600 million users will soon be able to create and share content in new ways thanks to support for external services made by partners such as ESPN, JibJab, and Pic Collage. In a demonstration, Facebook’s vice president of messaging products (and former PayPal president) David Marcus showed off support for JibJab cartoons within Messenger, and said that it will have 40 apps launching inside it in the coming weeks.

Facebook Messenger Platform for consumers.Courtesy: Facebook
Courtesy: Facebook

Marcus also unveiled Messenger Business, a tool that allows users to communicate directly with companies and brands to make purchases, receive receipts, and track shipments. “It’s time for us to reinvent how people and businesses communicate,” Marcus said.

Facebook (FB) is keen to compete with rival messaging apps such as Line and WeChat, which already act as platforms for mobile app developers. Last year, the social networking giant paid $19 billion for mobile messaging service WhatsApp.

Facebook Messenger Platform Everlane
The Facebook Messenger Platform in effect on the e-commerce site Everlane.Courtesy: Facebook
Courtesy: Facebook

Last week, the social networking company announced that users will soon be able to securely send and receive money via Messenger, which marks the social network’s first entry into a mobile payments space already occupied by tech companies such as Venmo, Snapchat, and Square.

The F8 conference will continue through March 26.

More coverage of this year’s F8 conference:

Facebook will support ‘spherical videos’ in News Feed

Facebook’s app-building platform Parse will expand to ‘Internet of things’

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