Facebook’s new Messenger offering will reduce social media backlash on brands, says VP of product for Messenger

Facebook’s Messenger 2.0 will allow brands to have one-on-one interactions with customers which could help alleviate problems with public comments on social platforms, the vice president of product for Messenger has said.

Speaking in Sydney at a presentation on the launch of the platform’s second iteration, Stan Chudnovsky said one of the opportunities for brands will be privately addressing complaints through bot services.

Chudnovsky presented the latest news on Messenger in Sydney today

“You don’t want to go through traditional channels, you don’t know who is going to pick up your phone,” Chudnovsky said of complaints on social channels.

“As a result you are frustrated because you know existing customer channels don’t work, nothing is getting addressed, you go to Twitter and complain there or you go to a Facebook page of the business and you make a public comment, and you hope you will be able to reach businesses this way.

“Messenger definitely creates an opportunity where you can go into one-on-one conversation and express whatever you are trying to express. It’s private and contained and assuming brands address that really quick, it will work well.

“It definitely one of the reasons why businesses are flocking to the channel, because it gives them an opportunity to address it before it comes public,” he added.

Chudnovsky’s comments were similar to that of Douglas Nicol, creative partner and founder at The Works who also runs On Message, the company’s specialist messaging service: “Because a messaging app is a true one on one conversation, you can be really blunt and honest, and a brand can be disarmingly transparent about their response, which they’re less likely to do on Twitter.”

Commenting on the launch of its experimental AI delivery service with, Chudnovsky said Messenger will look for an equivalent in the Australian market, provided it is what Messenger consumers want.

Messenger’s “vision” to have an equivalent service in Australia

“About a year ago we started the M experiment where we would build AI, and do build AI you can’t just enable everything for everyone,” he explained.

“ is the first example of a third-party app that is plugging in to our AI capabilities in order to fulfil its task. If you and I are talking and say ‘It would be nice to have a pizza’ we can tell that I will have a pizza.

“We will only do that if you are thinking about take-out.

“This is the first experiment and we don’t know if people are actually going to order food this way. The experiment is you take the third-party app and you allow the third-party app to plug into AI capabilities.

“Will expand to Australia? I have no idea, it is up to them to answer that question.

“Do we want to get into the world where there is a equivalent in Australia, that hooks up the same way to our capabilities, and starts enabling those experiences in Australia? Absolutely. That is a goal in terms of vision.”

Commenting on the new platform’s gaming capabilities, Chudnovsky said game developers will have future opportunities to advertise and offer micro-transactions through the platform.

“It’s a platform for third-party developers to create games for us,” he said.

“We are working it out so there absolutely will be and there has to be in order for us to have a surviving ecosystem. We have to figure out the right way for developers to make money. We haven’t figured out exactly how it will work out.”

“They are working on the platform knowing that we will figure it out.”

He said he hopes the brand will “figure it out” within the next six to nine months.

While brands globally will have enormous opportunity with Messenger’s bot service offering, he said small businesses are more likely to use the platform first.

“There are a lot of useful cases where it works for small businesses. Over time it will work for everybody, and that’s how our advertising platform generally has worked.

“The way it usually happens is small and more nimble companies are jumping first and they are paving the way for everybody else.”

When asked about Messenger’s long-term vision he said the platform wouldn’t have delivered its latest offering for businesses and consumers if they didn’t see the “direct benefit”.

“The vision is everything Facebook do generally is we’re trying to figure out what our users want and give it to them. If we didn’t believe connecting people and businesses has a very direct benefit to the users we wouldn’t do that either on Messenger.”

The new offering could be replicated on Whatsapp, dependent on consumer and business satisfaction

He added Facebook would look to also deliver the service on its other messenger platform, Whatsapp, provided consumers and businesses were satisfied.

“If it works on Messenger and if people are satisfied and businesses are getting value out of it, then it will work with Whatsapp and then there is no reason to not to do it on Whatsapp as well.”

Chudnovsky also pointed out Whatsapp was growing quicker in the “developing” world, while Messenger’s main audience was in the “developed” world, based on their different propositions.

He said while Whatsapp exploded in areas where SMS was expensive, Messenger grew in countries where SMS was already free and where Facebook was strong.

However, he said what works on one “should work” on the other, suggesting Whatsapp could have similar offerings in future.

“We are trying to be diligent about it and not rush into anything.”


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