Facebook has started allowing businesses to send ads to users on Messenger, as long as the given user has previously had a chat with the business, reports The Next Web. Users will retain the power to block the business if they find it spammy.
However, it seems like blocking brands will result in users not being able to contact the brands again till unblocked. This will likely result in the unintentional consequence where users will have to put up with ads or even spam from the brands they need support from. It is possible Facebook will allow users to block only ads and continue other forms of communication, although the company has not made its policies clear in this regard.
Note that Facebook had launched bot support for Messenger in April this year. The API can be used to provide various kinds of bots on Messenger, including for weather, traffic updates, shopping receipts, shipping notifications and live automated messages etc., and can now be also used for ads.
Facebook has been focusing on adding new features and monetizing its Messenger platform. The company had introduced features like in-app payments on Messenger in September, after it announced money transfers and payments over Messenger last year. Subsequently, it also added PayPal as a payment option on the platform.
Note that various messaging platforms have begun consolidating their user bases and have started looking for ways to actually generate some revenues. Earlier today Viber launched public accounts – an account format for businesses and brands that want to communicate with Viber users for marketing and customer service. Earlier this month, Twitter introduced chatbots for businesses through direct messaging, while online content discovery platform Outbrain launched “Outbrain for Chat,” a service that enables any publisher to launch applications or content bots across messaging platforms like Telegram, Kik and Slack.