Facebook pulls the plug on its M digital Messenger assistant

Facebook M

M wasn't just another chatbot that was trained to provide text responses based on previous conversations, using artificial intelligence. Previously, Facebook coined it as a beta, but more recently, the company dubbed it as an experiment in lieu of shutting the service down.

Facebook announced the final version of M will be on January 19 and any contractors who worked on the virtual assistant service will be offered work in another position at the company. If the assistant couldn't complete the task itself, one of its human operators could.

Unfortunately, the human-supervised version of M has never expanded beyond a small pool of users living in California, which consisted of about 2,000 people, according to The Verge.

A spokesperson declined to explain specifically why M was being killed off, how many human handlers it had, and how much money was blown on research and development for the project. It added it will use what it's learnt from running M to "power other AI projects at Facebook". "We continue to be very pleased with the performance of M suggestions in Messenger, powered by our learnings from this experiment". Eventually it would be able compete with Google's Assistant, Apple's Siri, and Amazon's Alexa.


The company has rolled out this tool in March this year, but at that time a Facebook user or a Facebook friend was required to help the victim. M isn't going away entirely. It's fundamentally different in that it can only offer fully automated suggestions for making plans, sorting out payments, sending stickers through Messenger, and more. If you find yourself wishing to talk to a virtual assistant in a chat app, Allo is still an option.

Facebook's virtual assistant was pretty unique compared to the rest of the digital assistants on the market.

This is it for now, folks. The service combined artificial intelligence and actual humans and was available as a bot in Facebook Messenger. Share your views with us in the comments section below.

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