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Facebook updates business features on Messenger platform

The latest iteration includes several updates that give businesses more fine-grained control over interactions with customers.

Facebook on Friday is rolling out Messenger Platform 2.4, which includes several updates that give businesses more fine-grained control over their Messenger interactions with customers.

The updates come a week after Facebook's F8 developer conference, where it introduced this augmented reality (AR) and artificial intelligence (AI) tools for businesses on Messenger. Facebook noted last week that there are 200,000 developers building on the Messenger platform and more than 8 billion messages exchanged between people and businesses each month.

The latest iteration of the Messenger platform includes updates to the customer chat plugin, which lets businesses integrate Messenger into their own websites. Facebook is adding more customization options for the plugin via a Customer Chat SDK. This SDK is included in the Facebook JavaScript SDK.

With the SDK, businesses can control when to show or to hide the plugin, as well as when to show or hide the welcome dialog. Additionally, among other capabilities, they can customize the greeting text dynamically.

Facebook is also adding support for more features that improve the user experience. For instance, sender actions lets the user know if you're typing or have read their messages. Additionally, user data quick replies automatically pre-fill information from the user's profile when appropriate, such as phone numbers.

Next, Facebook is updating the broadcast API, which lets businesses send messages to multiple subscribers with a single API request. A sports site, for instance, could using it to send game-score alerts to its subscribers who are interested in baseball.

With the new label predicates, a business can apply multiple custom labels to a broadcast using AND, OR, and NOT operators. So, for instance, a sports site could target users interested in both baseball and basketball.

The broadcast API is also getting scheduling, which allows a business to set a broadcast in advance.

Among other updates, Facebook is also now deprecating 'page_messages_open_conversations_unique' metric and replacing it with 'page_messages_total_messaging_connections'. This should provide a more accurate count of the total number of open conversations between a business's Page and people in Messenger.