Facebook builds natural language processing into Messenger

Facebook builds natural language processing into Messenger

July 28th, 2017
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Facebook today launched Messenger Platform 2.1 with new features to give

developers and brands more ways to reach potential customers, like built-in

natural language processing, a payments SDK, and a global beta that makes

it easier to switch between automated bots and the humans behind 70 million

businesses on Facebook.


Natural language processing (NLP) will be provided by Wit.ai. The company acquired by Facebook in 2015 has always made NLP available to developers, but in 2.1 it comes as a built-in feature to detect the use of common phrases like “hello,” “bye,” “thanks,” date & time, location, amount of money, phone number, and email.

Once one of these seven kinds of messages are detected, the bot can then carry out an automated response. Built-in NLP introduced today is “the first step in bringing NLP capabilities to all developers, enabling brands to scale their experiences on Messenger,” Facebook wrote in a blog post today. In a separate post from Wit.ai today, the company announced it will discontinue its Bot Engine for NLP.

On Wednesday when second quarter earnings were announced, Facebook heard a lot of questions from analysts about Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp’s ability to produce revenue. Facebook launched its global beta for advertisements on Messenger’s home page earlier this month, and News Feed ads for bots were introduced in November.

Also with Messenger Platform 2.1, a new software development kit launches today to enable payments in Messenger webview. The SDK is part of the payments beta that launched last fall, and like the payments beta will only be available in the United States.

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