Facebook has become the latest communications platform to embrace the burgeoning field of automated bots by launching its own suite of developer tools for its Messenger communication app at the F8 developer conference.
The social media giant is banking on a new generation of automated widgets mixing artificial intelligence and human interaction being capable of performing useful functions for the wider public in arenas such as commerce, customer support and even media.
To facilitate this Facebook has released a set of functions and procedures that enable developers to build chat bots for Messenger and the web, allowing publishers to message news directly to subscribers.
Demonstrating their capabilities Mark Zuckerberg showed off a CNN app capable of sending personalised news stories and a 1-800-FLOWERS bot which allows people to order flowers using natural language.
Other messaging apps such as Telegram and Kik have already launched their own bot stores but Facebook is hoping to steal a march on the competition by leveraging its huge 900m user base.