Facebook Messenger is a mobile app that enables chat, voice and video communications between the social media site's web-based messaging and smartphones. (Specific capabilities vary according to the user's device and geographic location.) Messenger is available for iOS, Android, Windows 10 and Blackberry devices and can connect through Wi-Fi or a mobile data plan.
On Android systems, the app also integrates SMS texting so that users don’t have to toggle between communication interfaces for different contacts. Once the user selects Messenger as the default SMS client, text messages and FB chat are available through the interface. SMS messages and threads are color-coded purple to differentiate them from the blue-coded FB messages.
At Facebook’s 2016 F8 developers’ conference, the company reported that it was incorporating chatbots to enable conversations with businesses. Facebook also announced that the Messenger Platform would be made freely available for bot development. Users can interact with a business chat bot as they would any other contact, rather than downloading separate apps for each business and switching among apps to communicate. From within Messenger, a user might check sports scores or the weather, make a purchase, get movie tickets or book a restaurant table or a flight – among many other possibilities.
As of April 2016, FB Messenger had over 900 million users around the world.