Facebook Messenger may soon allow companies to send you targeted ads

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Advertising is reportedly making its way to the most private and popular bits of Facebook. The company rumored to be introducing a way for businesses to send advertising messages to people who have messaged with them previously, according to a report from TechCrunch

Facebook made it possible to chat with businesses for things like customer service last year when it rolled out Messenger for Business. The idea is that you don’t need to email or call a representative to get your complaints or questions handled. Instead, you can chat with them the same way you do with all your friends.

Turns out, that conversation might open doors for advertising. The leaked documents obtained by TechCrunch show that businesses will be able to send ads privately to people who have messaged them first later this year. Additionally, the company is rolling out a shortlink to make messaging brands and businesses easier; for instance, when you click on fb.com/msg/dailydot, it will push you right into a message with our Page. 

Facebook declined to comment on the report. “We don’t comment on rumors or speculation,” a Facebook spokesperson told the Daily Dot via email.

The report follows news that Twitter is introducing new direct messaging capabilities for companies to respond to complaints on the platform, including deep linking directly in tweets and a customer feedback option. 

It’s not surprising Facebook would turn to ads to monetize Messenger. The company hired former PayPal executive David Marcus to run Messenger in June 2014. Since then, the company has beefed up Messenger’s capabilities, including adding the ability to send and receive money through the app like Venmo or Square Cash, and hail an Uber right from Messenger. 

If ads do eventually come to our private messaging space, it’s likely to upset a lot of consumers. While ads on Facebook proper can be ignored fairly easily while scrolling through the timeline, direct messages—or, even worse, push notifications—are intrusive and annoying. 

H/T TechCrunch | Illustration via Fernando Alfonso III

Selena Larson

Selena Larson

Selena Larson is a technology reporter based in San Francisco who writes about the intersection of technology and culture. Her work explores new technologies and the way they impact industries, human behavior, and security and privacy. Since leaving the Daily Dot, she's reported for CNN Money and done technical writing for cybersecurity firm Dragos.