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Facebook Bets On Messenger App, Adds More Ways To Connect With Friends And Businesses

SAN FRANCISCO – Facebook on Wednesday began turning its Messenger application into a platform for e-commerce, video and more in a bid to shake up online communication.

Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg unveiled Messenger Platform, describing it as a way for software developers to boost appeal to the more than 600 million people using the application.

“We think this service has the potential to allow people to express themselves in new ways… and to be an important communication tool for the world,” Zuckerberg said as he kicked off the California-based company’s annual developers conference in San Francisco.

Facebook executives introduced more than 25 products and tools tailored to help developers “build, grow, and monetize” mobile applications aimed at the social network’s audience of approximately 1.39 billion people.

Messenger is being upgraded to allow users to share photos, audio clips, videos, animated snippets and other digital content in what has the potential to tread on turf long dominated by Google-owned YouTube.

The changes underscore Facebook’s vision for Messenger as a new communication tool that complements the social network and ramps up efforts to compete with rivals like Snapchat, which is adding media partners to its messaging app.

One of the Messenger upgrades was designed to build on Facebook’s move into e-commerce by weaving chat threads into purchases at websites, essentially turning formerly impersonal Internet shopping into ongoing text message conversations.

“We’re making Messenger a place where you can easily communicate with the businesses you care about in addition to the people you care about,” Zuckerberg said.

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