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facebook messenger

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It's not just you: Facebook Messenger is down in several regions worldwide

If you can't send or receive messages with Facebook Messenger, don't worry - you're not alone. According to DownDetector, which monitors site outages, Messenger is having problems in several regions worldwide.

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Facebook Messenger is testing yet more interface changes, with tabs and Instant Games section

We knew changes were incoming for Facebook Messenger after last month's F8 Developer Conference, during which the focus was largely on better discovery of bots and "Chat Extensions" to add those bots into group conversations. Now it seems Facebook is testing new UI changes, including top-level tabs and a games section in the bottom nav bar.

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Replying to messages in Android Auto is broken if Hangouts isn't installed, Google is on the case

According to several frustrated posters on Google's product forums, the hands-free reply function built into Android Auto is broken. The feature enables users of various different messaging apps to reply to incoming messages while keeping their hands on the wheel. There is a bizarre workaround, though — make sure you have Hangouts enabled and up-to-date.

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Attack of the Bots: Facebook introduces new bots and new bot features in Messenger at F8

Facebook has released a whole lot of information from their latest F8 developer conference, and it looks like their drive to turn Messenger into its own platform for development is continuing full steam ahead. The conference started today and continues into tomorrow, but Facebook has already pushed out a number of press releases based on some of the things talked about there. Notable announcements include a Discovery tab in Messenger for finding more bots, QR code support, "Chat Extensions" that add bots into a group conversation, FAQ for bots, a VR demo, and more ways to use the M personal assistant.

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Facebook adds a group payments feature to Messenger

In 2015, Facebook launched the ability to do person-to-person transactions in Messenger, but it was limited to two people at a time. It's a neat feature, especially if you or your friends don't want to use something like PayPal, but it's now expanding to group conversations starting today.

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Over a year later, Facebook's M assistant finally makes its way into Messenger

Earlier today Facebook launched their new M assistant service in Messenger on iOS and Android for the US (with other countries to come). Much like Google Assistant in Allo it's meant to drop in at convenient points in a conversation to give you shortcuts and tools to simplify things.

Facebook announced M well over a year ago, jumping a bit late on the bandwagon of personal assistants, but allegedly theirs is at least partially driven or overseen by real living human beings, which sets it apart from the others in no small way. If they manage to leverage enough other modern tech buzzwords like AI, machine learning, and perhaps some synergy for flavor, it may even be of some use.

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Facebook adds Live Location feature to Messenger

Sharing your location with friends and family can be extremely helpful in some situations. Google Maps started rolling out location sharing a few days ago, and now Facebook has added a similar feature to Facebook Messenger.

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Facebook introduces the stories-like Messenger Day

Facebook is continually adding features to its Messenger platform, which is great for the many who use it. This time around brings us stories... er, I mean Messenger Days, which are "temporary" photos or videos that your friends can see and reply to. They disappear after twenty-four hours, or you can delete them before then if you so choose.

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Facebook Messenger can insert GIFs from Google's Gboard

Inserting GIFs in Facebook Messenger has been available for over a year now, after it began as a trial in 2015. A GIF button shows up in the text entry box, next to the picture, emoji, and voice message options, and lets you search for the perfect animated reaction to send to your friends or family. But it looks like Messenger only searches one repository for GIFs, which is often (always?) Tenor.

If you want to check more sources for GIFs, you either have to download a separate app or you can use Google's keyboard Gboard. Since its release, Gboard has offered a GIF search option, but developers had to specifically enable it in their own apps.

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Facebook starts testing Sponsored ads in Messenger

Facebook Messenger is used by a lot of brands and businesses to communicate with their users, customers, or fans. According to Facebook, 1 billion messages are sent on the platform each month between businesses and users. So it only makes sense that Facebook wants to monetize that and businesses want to take advantage of it to reach more users with special offers or product ads. And that's what Facebook is starting to do.

In the coming weeks, a test group of people in Thailand and Australia will start seeing ads in their Facebook Messenger app. These will show up on the Messenger home screen below recent conversations, as is the case with birthday notifications or the list of currently active users.

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