Facebook set to Transform Messenger App into Platform?

Tim Maytom

MessengerFacebook may be planning to offer third party companies a way to offer experiences through its Messenger app, following the lead of services like WeChat and Line that have moved beyond simple messaging.

Facebook is planning to announce the changes at next week's F8 developer conference, according to TechCrunch, which cites multiple sources familiar with the situation.

The changes to Messenger will form a major part of F8, with third parties able to build ways for content and information to flow through Messenger, and additional features planned if the initial changes are well received.

Earlier this week, Facebook announced it was adding a mobile payment functionality to the Messenger app, enabling users to send peer-to-peer payments. The addition of payments to Messenger has been predicted ever since David Marcus, former head of PayPal, joined Facebook as vice president of messaging products in June of last year.

The transformation of Messenger into a more versatile platform is likely to be a slow and cautious one, with Facebook working with preferred partners before opening functionality up to developers at large.

Apps like Line and WeChat have successfully managed to transition to more developed platforms, adding features like greeting cards, emoji makers, games and brand accounts, while Snapchat has partnered with publishers for its Discover function.