Facebook offers Messenger to businesses

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Facebook offers Messenger to businesses

Live chat for retail.

Social network Facebook is pushing its Messenger service into businesses, partnering with Zendesk to offer live chat support.

The company today said businesses could use Messenger for live customer support and to offer users services such as push notification.

Aimed initially at retailers, Business Messenger could allow a customer to start a conversation with the retailer during checkout; receive updates on order confirmations and shipping status; and ask the business free-form questions about their order.

Facebook has partnered with Zendesk for the support technology, and has signed up retailer Everlane and Zulily as initial clients.

The social media giant also today took a leaf out of competitors Kik and WeChat's books, and opened up Messenger to outside developers.

Developers can integrate their apps with Facebook's messaging service, the company's product manager Lexy Franklin said, reaching some 600 million people.

Users can play games, share animated GIF images and emojis in Messsenger conversations. Facebook said it had signed up more than 40 developers for the platform at launch.

Last week, Facebook said it would introduce a similar feature to Snapchat's Snapcash, allowing users to link their Visa or MasterCard debit cards to their accounts, for payments via Messenger.

Facebook founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg made the announcement at the social network's F8 developer conference earlier today.

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