Facebook Calls on IT Developers for Bot Search Challenge



Bots for Messenger

With the growing popularity of chatbots, Facebook (FB) has set out on a bot search mission. The company is calling on IT (information technology) developers in the Middle East and Africa to participate in a challenge that would develop bots for its Messenger app (application). The company has lined up monetary and mentorship rewards for winners and finalists in the bot challenge, which begins later this year.

Chatbots are particularly popular among Millennials and Generation Xers. According to Business Insider, 59.0% and 60.0% of US Millennials and Generation Xers, respectively, had tried chatbots as of late 2016.

The above graph shows US chatbot usage among Millennials and Generation Xers.

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Modern IT spending on the rise in the developing world

Although Facebook hasn’t revealed much about what it’s up to with the bots challenge, the company seems to have its eyes on the modern IT services market. Businesses have begun to invest heavily in chatbots, which help with automation of functions, including customer support.

Some companies that have deployed chatbots for collaboration and messaging include Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), 1-800 Flowers (FLWS), and Time Warner’s (TWX) CNN, according to Business Insider.

Businesses and organizations in the developing world are adopting modern IT at a rapid rate. Facebook appears to be working to foster development of bots that would be a perfect fit for corporations and consumers in the Middle East and Africa.

Monetization of Messenger and WhatsApp

Chatbots could help Facebook expand monetization opportunities for its Messenger and WhatsApp apps by offering solutions it can sell to businesses on a subscription basis. Developers who will participate in Facebook’s Messenger bot challenge will create bots for social good, entertainment, and productivity and utility industries.

Since Twitter (TWTR), Alphabet’s (GOOGL) Google, and Snap are intensifying competition for online ad revenue, Facebook has had to look for new revenue streams outside its staple advertising business.


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