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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 is cracking down on revenge porn in its Messenger, Instagram, and main platforms

Facebook is taking steps to help crack down on and reduce the damage done by revenge porn. The new tools introduced today will allow the company to prevent any unauthorized images from being shared once reported by users.

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The Facebook app continues to grow in size with a new effects-laden camera and Stories

In continuing its crusade to bring Snapchat-like features to its repertoire of applications, Facebook has taken to its blog to announce some new features in the main app itself. Users will be able to use and share a variety of camera effects, 24-hour Stories, or send photos to specific friends with Direct.

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Facebook is testing new buttons and an option to cache some videos for offline viewing

We're back again with some more changes/tests in the Facebook app spotted by you sharp-eyed readers. The more obvious of the two is a redesign of the Like, Comment, and Share buttons, but we also have some users who are seeing an option in the App Settings to cache some videos for offline viewing. Good stuff.

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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 expands live streaming to desktop site, streaming software now available for personal profiles

Facebook is trying its hardest to break into online video, between adding live streaming to the mobile Facebook app to creating a 360-degree video viewer for the Gear VR. Today the company announced another expansion of its Facebook Live feature, this time for the desktop.

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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 releases Facebook 360 for Gear VR

Facebook has been slowly increasing focus on sharing video, most notably with Facebook Live. Like Google Plus/YouTube, Facebook supports uploading 360-degree photos and video. If you have a Gear VR, you can now use Facebook's 'Facebook 360' application for viewing immersive content on the go.

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