A leaked document acquired by TechCruch has revealed something pretty worrying about Facebook’s future plans for their Messenger service. The document, sent to some of Facebook’s biggest advertisers suggests they may begin serving ads within Messenger as soon as Q2, 2016.

The document, which has been kept private so as not to reveal the source, says that businesses will soon be able to target Messenger with its ads, sending messages to users who have previously initiated a chat thread with that company. To prepare, the document goes as far to suggest businesses begin sending messages to its users, so they’ll be able to send them ads when the feature launches.

Facebook has apparently also launched a shortlink – “fb.com/msg” – which will instantly open a chat thread with a business, not only allowing for easy communication, but also a crafty way for businesses to initiate a chat thread. Apparently Facebook has confirmed the existence of the URL short link, which may back up the claims made in the document.

With over 800 million monthly active users, Messenger is one of Facebook’s fastest-growing products, though it comes as no surprise considering Facebook essentially forces users who wanted to continue to use their chat function on mobile, to download the app. In a statement to TechCrunch, Facebook failed to comment on the rumour, but added “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.”

Which is reassuring, as it seems Facebook doesn’t want unsolicited messages attacking its users, even when there are ads. I guess they just need to be careful in order for it to work. Of course, if this feature does roll out, it looks as if messages will only be sent out to users who have previously voluntarily messaged a business in the past and not to those who have simply just “liked” a page.

That being the case, it wouldn’t surprise me if we start getting brands and businesses asking for users to message them to enter prize draws and other competitions.



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