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Facebook Messenger update adds Discover tab to find new chatbots

By Martyn Landi, Press Association Technology Correspondent

Facebook Messenger is introducing the Discover tab to users in the UK, giving them a new place to find chatbots to converse with on the app.

Chatbots have been steadily rolling out on Messenger over the last two years as artificial intelligence-powered profiles that enable users to have conversations with businesses as though they were speaking to a single person.

The Discover feature was first introduced in the US last summer, and after what Facebook described as promising results so far, is now being expanded to the UK.

(Facebook)

Chatbots enable users to get personalised news stories, buy tickets for events or check the delivery status of orders from businesses without having to go through website forms or customer service sections of websites.

They instead use AI and natural language understanding to respond to queries in a conversational manner.

The new tab will include a search function to enable users to find bots and pages they’re specifically looking for, as well as see a list of their recently-used bots should they need to return to a conversation.

The tab will also contain a “featured” section which will promote bots and businesses considered to be of interest, while a “categories” section is also in place to organise the various bots by topic.

The new section of the app will appear as an icon in the bottom right-hand corner of the Messenger home screen.