Facebook Messenger: Why ads could soon be popping up in your chats

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg may just have changed his mind about adverts being the wrong way to make money from messaging.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Adverts may start appearing soon but Facebook says it doesn't want Messenger to become spammy.

Image: Facebook

As Messenger creeps up towards the one billion active user mark, details have emerged revealing Facebook's plan to introduce advertising to the chat platform by June.

According to an internal Facebook document obtained by TechCrunch, Facebook will let businesses send ads as messages to people who previously started a chat thread with that company.

Facebook also has a suggestion on how to approach the introduction of adverts. The document advises businesses to kick off conversations with consumers now, so they'll be able to send ads once the feature arrives.

Over the past year, Facebook has launched a number of features to encourage conversations between consumers and businesses, such as Businesses on Messenger.

Facebook doesn't appear to be too concerned by revelations it would introduce ads to Messenger. Although it declined to comment on the document, Facebook said it didn't want Messenger to become spammy.

"Our aim with Messenger is to create a high-quality, engaging experience for 800 million people around the world, and that includes ensuring people do not experience unwanted messages of any type," Facebook told TechCrunch.

The document also confirms Facebook the existence of its new short URL, which instantly opens a chat thread with a business. Canadian carrier Rogers is trialling the URL, offering a shortcut to a customer-service agent.

Other details of Facebook's revenue-generation plans started to emerge after its other messaging app, WhatsApp, which now has one billion users, dropped its annual $1 subscription fee.

The company is exploring non-ad based revenue by offering messaging between users and businesses that "You want to hear from", such as a bank using WhatsApp to issue a personal fraud alert.

Given that reaching one billion users appears to be attainable for Messenger this year, it would seem the time is ripe for the introduction of new ways to generate income from the platform.

According to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's comments over a year ago, he wanted WhatsApp and Messenger to reach a billion users before turning them into real businesses.

It's not known how Facebook will approach ads in Messenger, but the document says the message should flow on from previous discussions.

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