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Is Facebook turning its back on AI chatbots?

Facebook has turned away from AI based chatbots judging by the recent changes made to the system

By Joe Clark

Facebook has recently issued an overhaul of its chatbot system.

The changelog for the new updates seems to indicate that the social media giant is moving away from an AI based system that can learn from the queries it encounters, and instead will be using a much simpler software that looks for keywords and responds in kind.

Many businesses employ chatbots on Facebook to deal with the massive audiences prevalent on the 1 billion user strong social media platform. The bots were introduced en-masse after Zuckerburg announced the system in March of 2016. The system has left something to be desired however, and recently it emerged that the bots have a 70% failure rate.


Previously Dave Campbell, Vice President of Customer Engagement & Support at LogMeIn, told CBR: “Before jumping on the bot bandwagon, it’s important to remember that not all customer interactions are created equally.  Not all customers are chatbot friendy – there will always be customers that are more comfortable interacting via traditional methods.  Not all interfaces are chatbot friendly either — Bots might be the darlings of customer engagement at the moment but apps still have a role to play.”

READ MORE: From Robot uprisings to machine learning and smart conversations – what’s all the fuss about chatbots?

Traditionally an AI assistant operates the same way a human would but eliminate the need for that staff member to sit and answer messages all day. The app works by determining what users are asking for and directing them with an appropriate response.

Features in the update include a re-designed persistent menu that will allow access to menus that were previously hidden within the chatbot, users have the option to disable the text input, and the bots can be limited to focusing on specific countries.

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It’s hoped that this simpler interface will streamline customer service by allowing them to easily access the information they need. Facebook has also begun calling them ‘bots’ as opposed to ‘chatbots’ as it has also moved away from voice commands

The changes, which can be seen in full in the changelog, are scheduled to come into place on March 20th.


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