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Facebook opens up Messenger to ad bots

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Right now, Facebook lets Messenger bots from brands like Expedia and HP help you make a purchase, but they can't try to sell you a new product. However, a policy change means those automated assistants will soon be able to send subscription messages, ads and promotions for services like makeup consultations. If you're worried about spam, Facebook emphasized that the user is in control. "All conversations between businesses and people must be initiated by the person receiving the messages, who can then mute or block the business at any time," wrote Product Manager Seth Rosenberg.

When you initiate a request via Messenger, the business has 24 hours to respond. However, replying back via an "eligible action" (like typing "learn more" or "make appointment"), resets the clock. Those who subscribe to a company's Messenger feed, by comparison, will get messages unprompted and more regularly, but no promotional content is allowed. If subscribers reply to a message, however, it will switch into standard messaging mode, meaning ads and promos are fair game.

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