Facebook is turning its Messenger application into a platform for e-commerce, video and more in a bid to shake up online communication.
Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg unveiled Messenger Platform, describing it as a way for software developers to boost appeal to the more than 600 million people using the application.
“We think this service has the potential to allow people to express themselves in new ways… and to be an important communication tool for the world,” Zuckerberg said at the California-based company’s annual developers conference that ends Thursday in San Francisco. Facebook executives introduced more than 25 products and tools tailored to help developers “build, grow, and monetize” mobile applications aimed at the social network’s audience of approximately 1.39 billion people. Messenger is being upgraded to allow users to share photos, audio clips, videos, animated snippets and other digital content.
The changes underscore Facebook’s vision for Messenger as a new communication tool that complements the social network and ramps up efforts to compete with rivals like Snapchat, which is adding media partners to its messaging app. “They are trying to make Messenger a full-featured and rich media platform,” Gartner analyst Brian Blau told AFP at the conference. “I think that they are interested in letting people know that Facebook is not a single app company, it is an app constellation.” Along with Messenger and its eponymous social networking application, Facebook owns WhatsApp and Instagram. Blau likened the Messenger move to the rise of Facebook as a platform.