Facebook pushes businesses to FB Messenger by adding Snapchat-like Scannable Profile Codes

Facebook, who owns one of the most widely used cross-platform messaging services on the Earth, WhatsApp, is now trying to position Facebook Messenger as the perfect service for staying in touch with family and friends as well as for business use. Not an outsider to copying features from rival social networks, Facebook has added new features to its Messenger chat service, including the ability to scan people’s “codes” to start a conversation.

The social network officially announced a suite of tools and updates designed to help Facebook users better connect with the businesses using its platform. It is expanding Messenger beyond being a friends-only service, making it easier for brands to talk to customers directly. As part of these changes, businesses will now see their Facebook Page usernames being more heavily promoted across the site, and they have been given two new ways for people to begin chatting with them: Messenger Links, which are short URLs, and scannable Messenger Codes.

With the scannable codes, any Messenger user can scan a friend or business’ Messenger code to add them to their chat list.

Every Messenger account will have their unique scannable QR code within the app, which is displayed in the settings tab as a series of dots and dashes around their profile photo. Scanning that code adds that person (or business) as a contact on Messenger but, probably, not on Facebook.

In a post on the new functionality, Facebook explained: “No matter where you are, online or at an event, all you have to do is scan a code someone shares with you, and then you can start that important conversation.

“No more back and forth with texts trying to make sure you have the right number saved and awkwardly asking people how to spell their names. Your settings tab in Messenger has your own Messenger Code displayed prominently to scan or share.”

Messenger Codes, like all Facebook products, are “rolling out gradually” — “But it shouldn’t be too long,” says Messenger leader David Marcus.

As per Snapchat or Instagram, Facebook Messenger users are also getting their own unique user names, displayed as m.me/username. Messenger profile links are already working. So, if you type in a friend’s username after m.me/, it should open up a chat with them on Messenger.com, Facebook’s dedicated Messenger site. Usernames on Messenger are the same username you use on Facebook itself.

Facebook’s new codes are similar to Snapchat’s Snaptags, scannable codes that let Snapchatters add new friends on the platform. Facebook’s Rooms app also lets users add others to their “rooms” by scanning visual codes.

While the new features are likely to benefit users, Facebook is also looking forward for more businesses to adopt the tools. New features are in line with Facebook’s recent efforts to expand and build Messenger as a standalone platform along with huge emphasis on businesses.

Facebook has also dedicated a page on how businesses can use these new tools, since they boost Messenger’s potential as a customer service platform. Businesses will be able to set unique user names for their brand pages, and communicate directly with customers over Messenger. It is looking to encourage companies to use their new Messenger links and codes on their marketing materials “to prompt people to reach out directly”.

Finally, Facebook said it will soon allow businesses to customize their “Messenger Greetings,” which is a new feature that pops up a note in the message thread between a business and customer before any messages are sent. The idea here is that businesses can set the tone or pass along important information to those who are reaching out to chat.

In addition to announcing these features, Facebook also said that it added another 100 million users within three months since January to reach 900 million monthly active users base. On the other hand, Facebook’s own WhatsApp Messenger hit the 1 billion monthly users mark in February. Considering the rapid growth within few months, Messenger is likely to further narrow the gap with WhatsApp sooner or later.

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